When I look at my life, I always see more I could do. I can’t see me settling down or rocking off into the sunset. Feelings of satisfaction and completion are at war with feelings for more. My kids are grown and, in my opinion, successful. My husband of these last 100 years seems content with the way our lives shaped up. I enjoy my home, family, and friends. I have a lot to be thankful for! So, why is sitting idle the same as squandering time to me. I see the opportunities that exist for younger people and, I’m envious. They can position to make their dreams a reality. Yet some, it seems, are content to throw their time away.
At our July 4th cookout last summer, my niece, who works for Google, explained that some of their engineers are self-taught. They learned to code by reading manuals. Right away, I visualized myself coding, and I wrote a note in my iPhone to buy a coding app and get some books on coding from Amazon. One of my nephews came over from the buffet, where he’d been stuffing his face, to listen. The other young people seemed not to care that this lucrative career could be had for the time it took to learn it. Were they afraid of coding? Did it seem too hard?
I am thankful, looking back, that I wasn’t afraid to learn technology back when a lot of adults my age were shying away. I taught high school journalism which required me to show students how to lay out the school newspaper and yearbook. R. R. Donnelley & Sons had donated a ton of used equipment and software to our school and someone had to learn MS DOS and Macintosh computers to be able to use them.
Besides editing skills, desktop publishing taught me to count picas, and learn kerning, leading, and tracking. There were other technical things I’ve learned and forgotten over the years as I progressed along the career path. Today, with modern software, these things are done for you. I learned on my own and I miss the old Page Maker, Illustrator, and early versions of Microsoft Word that made you layout pages and solve problems on your own.
I went on to work a lot of positions that allow me to sit at home now or do whatever I want. I have been an English Coach helping Language Arts teachers make “No Child Left Behind” succeed in their schools. I have assisted principals to become better instructional leaders and data analysts. Yet, I still feel like I should’ve reached higher. In my Marlon Brando voice, “I could’a been a contender!
Please understand that this is personal and in no way reflects anyone’s choices or outcomes except mine. Whenever I wish I could’ve done more I remember that there are women and men who bounce balls, tell jokes, and write stories and they make tens of millions each year. They certainly aren’t bothered. They feel that their work is important and that they are successful!
At the end of the day, are you still striving for more? If so, what are you doing? If not, how did you turn it off?