Monday, November 17, 2008

Headlines Imitating Life

While I am not an avid New York Times reader (I have yet to figure out how to include it in my regular time and money budget), I really enjoy the Times. So discovering a Sunday Times left behind on the train last week was a real find. One headline on the front page almost made me laugh out loud. Looks like Mr. President-elect and I are facing the same question...

I don't know what he'll decide, but usually I am a BIG fan of "quick and broad". My m.o. is to take on a lots of things (all of them fantastic or interesting or creative or important, of course), but I am having the unfortunate realization that that is not necessarily the road to success and happiness. I am reluctantly examining what "pragmatic, slower steps" might look like, might be like.

First response? Boring!

I'd much rather dance and sew and make raspberry jam and blog and learn Spanish and create photo albums of the past 10 years (oh yeah, and everything from my childhood too) and design patterns and invest in the stock market (crazy huh?) and knit and participate in a book club (and a women's club and a quilt group) and establish a food storage plan and....and....and.....

And it's not working.

Let's take Spanish.

I am coming to the following realizations about my Spanish studies:

1. I believe a new language should come easily...intuitively almost. Learning my first language was pretty straight forward, right? I just listened to my parents, blah, blah, blah, then BAM, I could write excellent college level research papers and debate about important issues. That's how it works, right? So if I drop in on Spanish class, mostly do my homework, listen to a few discursos in Spanish, read the ads in Spanish on the subway, by the end of the year, I should be fluent. Especially because I'm smart. Right. Right?

2. It's not working like that.

3. I am very, very behind where my current class level is. (But I thought I was smart, right???)

4. Ah ha! I am smart! I just need to study like a mad-woman, make Spanish my life...drilling myself on the subway to and from work, watch only Spanish movies, make hubby only correspond with me in the espanol, read periodicos instead of the Times (because I have so much time for that in my schedule already), make 10 new hispanic friends and hang out with them every single week-end, only read Spanish craft blogs (I did find one!), etc. etc. etc. Project! Exciting! I could do it!

5. This would be sustainable for about 36 hours....or more accurately, 3.6 hours. .36 hours?

6. I either need to forget about Spanish or come up with a new plan.

7. New plans might be boring. And make my tummy hurt.

8. A new plan would probably mean I'd have to study consistently, a little bit each day. Yes, Andrea, each day. It would probably mean I will continue to be behind and say things incorrectly and not know how to communicate well for some time, even though I am studying. Yes, each day.

9. New plans definitely give me an upset tummy.

But alas, I'm trying it anyway. I am trying to be a bit more patient, pragmatic and persistent. (Although I might get distracted writing alliteration poems...) Ahem...I AM trying to be more focused, consistent and realistic.
I am slowly learning how to reflect on what matters most and how to keep my focus on it. And when it comes to Spanish, I am going to try studying a little bit every day, (yes, each day)...tortoise-like, diligently.

So, better watch out "slow and pragmatic"....I am going to kick your behind!

(Well, unless there is a knitting project that just has to be done right now. Then I might have to get back to slow and pragmatic later. Or if it keeps making my tummy hurt. But otherwise, behind? Totally kicked!)

p.s. Did I mention I am learning this slowly???


jenny said...

You are so talented and just want to do so many things, it can be hard. I am so impressed with all that you accomplish!

Amy said...

I understand wanting to take the quick approach. I often jump into all kinds of things without much consideration for the end results... slow and pragmatic is hard to sustain... how about just follow your bliss? No. Well let me know when you figure it out - I could use the guidance.