I’ve spent most of my life trying to play catch up, or correct my past mistakes. As my father says, I’ve spent most of my days paying for yesterday’s sins, I say I’m just learning at my own pace..
It took me a long time to figure out how to be a student. There’s a difference between being smart and being a student. It wasn’t because I didn’t care, it wasn’t that I didn’t try. Just that while most spent high school learning how to manage their time, and study effectively, my head was elsewhere, usually thinking about how stupid school was. It’s not that that isn’t normal for a lot of teens, but I guess a lot of people, successful people anyways, figure it out a little quicker.
It took me a long time to figure out how to take things in stride, that every failure wasn’t fatal, and that every success wasn’t a ‘turning point’ that meant smooth sailing from then on. While most spent their teens pushing boundaries and learning what they were capable, I was busy sulking about nothing in particular.
It took me a long time to learn how to get people to like me. Really just learn that people did like me. If you listen to people, look them in the eye, and greet them with a smile, people tend to like you. Give them a hug and remember their name, and they’ll remember you. I learned this in my late teens. I spent the next few years learning how to make friends, while most people spent those years earning their degree or meeting their sweethearts.
I spent a lot of college enjoying my new social life. It was fun having friends, and being the center of attention because I was fun and personable, instead of trying to fit in. I was a flirt, and had my fun. Most of high school I was dateless, I made up for it. But I missed something. I never learned what you do when you like someone, really like them. Picking up a woman was easy, developing a relationship was another matter. Friendship was easy, but a real “relationship” was, is, something entirely unfamiliar.
I spent a lot of my late teens, and most of my early 20’s, learning how to be a good person, or at least a better one. I learned how to learn. I learned how to make friends. I learned how to work. I learned how to take things in stride, get back on my feet. How to think through issues, instead of simply “feel” through them. I’m sure I’ll figure out the relationship thing soon. I’m a slow learner, but a learner nonetheless.
More and more I read and hear people talk about how success rarely occurs in a straight line. Matthew Berry wrote that “if your trying to do something and you haven’t failed at it yet, you aren’t trying hard enough”. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do think that if somebody is making something look easy, it’s most likely because they’ve done it before, and pretty good chance they screwed it up once or twice. Some learn by doing, some learn by failing, I guess I’m a little bit of both.