Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Yes I am Good at Remembering Facts. When I Don't Suck at It.

Am I good at languages or memorizing facts you ask.  The answer is...Yes

And No.

I am good a memorizing that which interests me.  I haven't tried a language in decades, although I want to learn to speak French.   I learn and remember what I need to learn and remember.  At this time in my life I get to choose how to fill my brain.

I am no longer at the mercy of adults or teachers telling me what I need to learn.  I work for myself and my family, so all that I learn supports the lifestyle of my choosing. Which is true for most adults at some point.   That is why I can say yes, I am good at memorizing facts.  When I choose to learn French, I am sure I will be good at that too.  Not because I am 'good with languages', but because it is something that I want to do, and as long as I find the system that works best for the type of learner I am, I'll learn.

The great thing about being a grown-up is that I can still enjoy things that are difficult and even a little frustrating, because they are the things that I choose to do.  When I was in the traditional work force, although I am not an inherently or instinctively organized person, doing my job well and helping my boss (who was a great person I might add) was important to me, so I worked very hard...well strategically in order to do a good job.   It was a choice.

I have never had a great memory for facts and information that held no appeal for me.  For instance I never learned my times tables.  I am almost ashamed to admit that I just 'got' how division and multiplication are connected.  You know 6 x 5 is 30.  30 divided by 5 = 6.   I'm not a moron,  I simply never paid enough attention to either until I was tutoring my 10 year old in multiplication and division.  For testing purposes I would simply write the facts over and over again.  That is why I was a whiz at spelling, I would write the word over and over again and when the test came, muscle memory would take over.  But do I know how to spell those words now?  No, In fact these days my spelling is abizmall (SMILE).  There is no grade associated with the number of worlds I spell correctly, but there is spellcheck - so at this stage of my game, I don't care how badly I spell.   I know that probably rubs many folks the wrong way, but I'm in my 40s now, not in elementary or high school, and what is important for me is whether I have enough common sense to hit 'spellcheck'  before 'send' or 'publish'.  My spelling acumen is just not important to me any longer.

What is important to me these days is not being obsessive and spending 8 hours writing one blog post.  The point is at some point in our lives we can't be good at everything and we get to pick the things that take up valuable real estate in our brain.  I like how Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock puts it when Watson teases him for not knowing the sun revolves around the earth.

Sherlock: Listen. This is my hard drive and it only makes sense to put things in there that are useful. Really useful. Ordinary people fill their heads with all kinds of rubbish. And that makes it hard to get at the stuff that matters. Do you see?

Watson: But it's the solar system!

Sherlock: Oh! How? What does that matter? So we go 'round the sun. If we went 'round the moon or round and round the garden like a teddy bear it wouldn't make any difference. All that matters to me is the work...

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So to answer the question.  Yes, I am good at memorizing facts but I stink at it all the same.  I'm fine with it!

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