Training Wheels and Language Learning

It’s all just language. Eventually you learn it or you abandon it. Blogging, writing, photographing, running, swimming – whatever you’d like to name – is just a language that you learn with time. Often through mistakes and lots of wasted time. With patience, you can become fluent in anything.

This isn’t a new truth. But sometimes I think there’s an important difference between knowledge and understanding; you can know a fact without truly understanding or experiencing it. I feel I’ve understood that I can pursue whatever I’d like and that, whatever it is, I’ll get it with time.

Lately, I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time with Microsoft SharePoint and Excel. I’m in the process of teaching it to a coworker and I can see the gears turning in her head. Sometimes she gets frustrated at formulas or remembering where a particular tool is but, with patience, she’s learned a lot.

I suppose the same is true with my experience with Adobe Photoshop. When I started, my photographs were always colorized neon and I used too many filters. As time progressed, I learned subtleties. Photoshop became a language I learned to speak and I dove in and out of the rules. Choosing what brush to use and when to use it. Sure, others could reach a similar end product to mine, but the way we reached it was entirely our own.

The things that you find challenging now will, mostly likely, become easier with time. If you choose to stick with them, they could become second nature. It’s often not a matter of resource or wealth, but a meaningful persistence or patience.

My focus now is on orienting myself in directions I want to explore. I’m pursuing meditation. I’d like to become more of a blogging conversationalist and focus on writing. I recently took up swimming again (it’s been 6 years). Lots of reading, too.

This post wasn’t meant to be much more than a gentle shrug or encouragement towards whatever you’d like to pursue. Find something you’re interested in and start walking in that direction, don’t worry about skill or beauty, it’ll come with time. Training wheels, in fact, help kids learn to ride bikes. Don’t worry if you have to use them to start, or if you’ve been using them a long time, eventually you’ll get where you’re going.

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