A Lifetime Learner’s Plan for 2011



I love to learn. 

Heh heh.  That is I love to learn when I’m in control of the learning and it’s going according to my plan. In short, when it is my idea.  Many lessons have to be foisted upon me, more than once, before I get the point. The acquisition of knowledge, the advent of understanding, the getting of wisdom…it’s like gathering armfuls of flowers.  

2011 will open a new vista for me.  After fifteen years of educating my boys at home, I spent two years working full-time while we pressed toward the goal of being debt-free.  My retirement day is fast approaching; my heart is beginning to gurgle with joy at the possibilities.

There is so much to learn.  And here is my short list of learning goals for 2011:


•  Learn musical notation software.  Finale is the version friends declare I need.  Get it. Use it. Love it.  And perhaps do a bit of composing.

•  Learn how to track investments correctly in Quicken.  I have “Placeholder Entries” which need to be fixed. This goes under the broader heading of paying attention to finances, learning more about the stock market, bonds, etc.

•  Learn profound contentment with one serving of food.  Ahem. Practice, practice, practice!

•  Learn how to take pictures with my new camera, a Nikon D3100.  I’m drooling to make bokeh.  And to be able to toss around words like aperture, depth of vision, f-stops and those lens numbers with the smallest measure of intelligence.  As my brother says, “Get out of auto focus.” This also falls under the larger goal of spending more time outside.       

•  Learn ten new Bach pieces on the piano.  If I were ambitious I’d include Chopin, because Chopin always killed me as a girl.  Not that Bach is an easy walk on the tundra. The last few years I’ve only played piano for the joy and comfort of playing. I’m actually itching for some disciplined study.

•  Learn how to listen without thinking of what I’ll be saying next. 


•  Learn to make time for regular letter writing.  Ink on paper letters.  Goodness, I have the cards and stationery!

•  Learn the value of daily stretching.  It’s bizarre to get up in the morning creaky.

•  Learn to look through the microscope.  We have a worthy one.  I’m a bit science-phobic, but I think I could handle this.  I don’t need to keep a journal (or perhaps I do).  I just need to look.  Sort of on a daily basis.  Are there enough things available to put under the lens?  Surely there must be.

•  Learner’s option: learn how to knit.  Or.  Learn how to quilt.  I love the idea of knitting. But I love reading more.  


16 thoughts on “A Lifetime Learner’s Plan for 2011

  1. Yes, learn notation software!  I don’t know finale since I learned and love Sibelius in college, but I’m dreaming of the day in which I can have a computer with midi keyboard to do my own arranging and composing on again. 

  2. I always enjoy writing the occasional letter to a long-lost friend.  Once I sent one and she emailed me back! LOL.  That’s okay, I was trying to get in touch with her and it was nice to hear back, regardless of the method.   I also enjoy sending a card or two to those I know are sick or suffering or mourning.  I don’t do it often enough though.It’s nice to find others who enjoy it too.

  3. My daughter loves Finale and uses it all the time. And she’s a big fan of Bach. Wonder if she plays any Bach in Africa?  Learning to knit is only an “option?” It’s such a satisfying hobby if you are even the tiniest bit artistic. So much scope for creativity! And it keeps arthritic fingers limber (well, that’s what I tell myself, anyway). I’m a big believer in writing real letters. I write one or two to my daughter every week, because I know from experience that a real letter on real paper is so much more meaningful to the recipient. I still email her several times a week, but she really looks forward to those letters that make the long journey from Texas to Zambia! I used to write at least one letter a day, and I’d really like to get back into that habit. Even a brief note can make someone’s day!

  4. good plan! I still vainly fumble with Latin. I thought I was old when I began this sojourn, but now I feel waaay old and hope for a bright, able replacement. We must have Latin for each generation.That being said, I want more time to read. I desire to master spinning and felting(?). I need to make a quilt for each grand  grandchild and a few spares. I need to be a better gardener, inspite of the cold climate– which will neccesitate greenhouse technology. I want to celebrate each of the Holy seasons in my son’s congregation.too many things, not enough me

  5. Finale Notepad is a great way to start… the Big Dog is expensive, and there’s MUCH to learn. I had the real thing when I was working, but now I have the cheapy notepad and it’s enough to GET BY until I have the bucks for the real thing. Been doing much descant writing lately. I just love it. I’m opening my voice studio for the first time in 10 years… 4 students on Thursdays. Car payment, after all…. I’m grateful not to *have* to teach piano. Not my fave thing to do.. but I long for the discipline that Bach requires, too.. I spent hours and hours and hours on Chopin in my Jr Hi – High school years, too – loved it, but not sure I’m wired for that anymore – at least not with a 2 year old in the house…Happy debt-free. Wonderful.Love you.Steph

  6. Finale is great, verily BACH is not an easy walk but with devotion you will soon be playing CHOPIN, whom to me is brilliant. You will have so much fun with the D3100. It’s even more fun when you use it for night photography. Good luck.

  7. Just a note of clarification.  Auto Focus is fine, yea, wonderful.  Full Auto mode on the camera is not.  Learn to use Aperture mode, Shutter speed mode, and, gasp, even full-on manual mode.  Your smart-aleck brother.

  8. You awesome music nerds! Very cool.Your brother might have a better recommendation, but maybe pickup a subscription to Popular Photography (yeah, same company as Popular Science). There is a lot of pro focus in it, but also learning material, and lots of really good photos.Anyway, I think you can probably get it pretty cheap. I resubscribed for a year several months back for about $8.Also, Cambridge in Colour seems to be a good place to learn how photography works, both technically and artistically.If you want to dive into heavy duty photo editing sometime without dropping a few Uncle Bens, try GIMP, it’s free and very powerful. Also, Paint.NET is another free app that’s compared to GIMP and Photoshop. Might be easier to learn than GIMP.

  9. I’ve used Finale for years. It’s great.And yes, learn to knit! This past year I took up knitting and crocheting. I do neither well, but enjoy trying. I particularly like to do it when we have family movie night. That way it doesn’t interfere with reading time. Happy new year!

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