You’re never too old to learn

By Gail Krawetz

            Contrary to popular belief, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

            I know this to be true because this old dog (I can call myself that, you can’t) has been on a steep learning curve for the past several months, and somehow I’ve not only survived, but gained many valuable skills along the way.

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            A year and a half ago, I embarked on an ambitious project to write a political history book. I knew next to nothing about writing such a tome, and had I known all that was involved, I might have never begun.

            However, as the saying goes, ignorance is bliss, and this proved to be quite beneficial in my case. And once I got started, there was no turning back.

            The journey has been interesting and rewarding, but also one fraught with anxiety, stress, and oft-repeated phrases such as, “What have I gotten myself into?” (Okay, I might be exaggerating a wee bit, but there were some tense moments when my husband chose to leave the room and not say a word until my little rant subsided.)

            One of the most challenging aspects of this undertaking was learning new ways of communicating via modern technology. Even though I have used a computer for many years, I have stayed within my comfort zone and not ventured very much into uncharted waters.

            But that all changed very quickly when I found myself having to use new programs and apps in order to share my work with my editor and writing coach. On the upside, some of my younger friends were quite impressed by the variety of apps that were now downloaded on my laptop, iPad and iPhone. (And, of course, I pretended that it was no big deal.) Necessity and not wanting to be dubbed “old school” was a great motivator for change.

            Once I got the hang of how everything worked, I was fine and found that new methods of completing tasks made my work much easier. But getting to that point was the issue for me. It didn’t help that I am a Type A personality which means that I like to have control of matters, now, not later.

            With a patience level that is minimal at best, frustration often reared its ugly head.

However, I did surprise myself by learning to take a deep breath, to stop cursing my computer, and to work through my issues. When I was successful in doing so, I almost hurt my arm from trying to pat myself on the back.

            I am thrilled to have completed my first book which will soon hit the stands.

            But as proud I am of the finished product, I am equally as proud of my ability to learn so much along the way.