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If At First You Don’t Succeed…

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crocheting

As I embark on learning a new skill set, I’m struck by how easily frustrated and thwarted I can get when it doesn’t come easily.  This year, it is my goal to become a proficient crocheter (is that even a word?).

I began learning to sew in middle school and have been able to hone that skill over time.  I know I’ve made plenty of mistakes and ruined lots of projects (zippers are still the bane of my existence), but it just seemed par for the course.  Now it sort of feels like I should be able to get this quicker.

One source of difficulty centers around the starter book I was given.  I don’t think its instructions are very clear.  I’ve had much better luck understanding things via YouTube videos.  I’m a very visual person and being able to picture something in my mind goes a long way towards being able to recreate it.

My biggest frustration at the moment is getting comfortable with holding the yarn and needle, keeping the whole processing moving along.  It still feels a little unnatural so I’m just trying to keep practicing the stitches over and over again before I move on to actually trying to create something specific.

I did get a bit overwhelmed when I looked through the book at all the different stitch types and other symbols for various techniques.  How the hell am I going to learn all of these?  It’s like another language.

I know practice makes perfect.  Something I have to keep reminding myself of as I slip up and start over again.  I’m not on a deadline and this is for my own benefit.  There’s no one demanding I learn to crochet except me.  It just feels like I should be getting it faster.

This is all I can do so far

This is all I can do so far

When I shared my frustration, someone quipped, “Oh maybe you’re afraid to fail.”  I thought about it for a second and came back with, “No, I’m afraid of never succeeding.”  Ay, there’s the rub.

More. More Science.

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I just finished watching COSMOS this week and I gotta say I want more!

Those aren't stars.  Those are freakin' galaxies!

Those aren’t stars. Those are freakin’ galaxies!

I watched the original COSMOS with Carl Sagan when I was in middle school and I loved that but this latest iteration was addicting. We looked forward to it every week just as much as Game of Thrones.  Perhaps we were just starved for something more meaningful and COSMOS was like the best steak I’ve ever had.

Sometimes the information went sailing over my head but that didn’t dampen my enjoyment whatsoever.  In fact, it is what probably fueled my appreciation.  That week about light was fantastic, and I want to watch it over and over again until I completely understand it.

Light_dispersion_conceptual_waves

Sadly, it may be all I get for a while. It appears that while this particular show did well in the ratings, science itself has taken quite a hit overall in the last generation.

It really comes down to the message that’s out there. These days, learning, curiosity and education are not hip or sexy or cool. Making money, being attractive and being famous are all anyone seems to care about. I know this is a generalization, but pop culture is a reflection of sorts of the zeitgeist.

Add to that an active push back against science from religious people or other people who display extreme willful ignorance for some reason or another.  It might be for political or monetary gain but it’s not for the general public’s best interest, that’s for sure.

Some days I wish I could borrow Professor Farnsworth’s What-If machine and see what the world might look like if scientists and thinkers and inventors were the superstars, and sports were just something we did once in a while to pass the time.  What kind of amazing advancements might have occurred?  Would we still be debating about climate change or would we be exploring the solar system and beyond?

What_if_Machine

The film Idiocracy is a great What-If scenario that shows what might happen when the stupid people win.

There are several outcomes to our present circumstances.  If the world starts to resemble that of Idiocracy and other dystopian fantasies involving book burning or drugged up compliance then, I agree with the professor.

farnsworth

Perhaps, in the meantime if you are in a position to influence a child, you might want to try a little of what Neil deGrasse Tyson is proposing and let the innate curiosity of a child be allowed some room to grow.  You never know who the next Newton or Einstein might be.