Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Year of Skills: Intro

In 2010, my goal for the year was to read every article in every issue of that year's The New Yorker, and so for 2011 it was understandable that I'd be interested in doing slightly less reading. (I still read every article in every issue of The New Yorker, though; what can I say? I'm an obsessive personality.) Looking back at 2010, the beginning of the year was filled with instability, since in the course of about six months I got married, applied to law school, quit grad school, and got a full-time job. I think I was seeking something constant and familiar, and if you were raised in my house there is nothing more constant or familiar than The New Yorker.

Looking back at 2011 now, I can see that I was facing exactly the opposite situation: my job, which I still loved, was promising to be become a little more stable and routine, as I had just finished working half-time for another team and was returning back to my original role after three months of being totally overwhelmed and learning challenging new things every day. I had just been asked to visit Austin to train a team there on doing my work, since after only a year, I was the second most senior member of the team (!). I was feeling like an expert, like I knew it all…and I hate that feeling. I need constant change and learning to be happy, and it was looking like my job was just going to let me coast.

And so I set a different sort of goal for 2011: learn a new skill every month. The basic parameters were pretty loose: it had to be a doing skill, not a knowing skill; I had to start the skill during the month but didn't have to master it (either during the month or ever); and the definition of "new" was either something I had never tried or simply something I had tried but never succeeded at. I didn't choose all my skills beforehand, though I made a list of things I was interested in, and so many of the year's skills represented what was going on in my life at the time. If I were a better or more dedicated writer, I'd turn this experience into one of those A.J. Jacobs-style books, but alas, "writing a book" was not one of the year's skills, and instead, I'm going to turn it into a series of blog entries. Stay tuned for (dum dum dummmmmm) The Year of Skills.

1 comment:

Diane said...

Hurrah. You are back.