Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Learn Something New-Starting Now

You know, as I approach fifty I often find myself looking back at so many things I wanted to do. Things I wanted to learn. And then, with thanks to my children, I learned the wonders of youtube. Now I know most people view youtube as a web site that shows funny clips of people getting hit between the legs or maybe a place you can find a clip from an old TV show or music videos. But one day I ran into an old friend of mine and through conversation, he asked me if I wanted his old guitar. He was purchasing a new one next week, an upgrade, and didn't need the old one. Well, I know as much about playing guitar as I do Mandarin Chinese but I took it from him with hopes of one day being able to sit by the campfire and effortlessly belt out a few country love songs or perhaps an acoustic version of songs my kids might recognize.

One rainy Saturday morning I picked up the old, scratched and dented guitar and started strumming. A screech of nothing that sounded like music came from the wooden instrument I cradled as my daughter walked in, shaking her head like she'd just discovered the dog pooped on the carpet. "Only one lesson!" I replied, trying my best to recall the line from Ferris Beuhler.

"You should go to youtube." she replied. "I bet they have lessons."

And so I did just that, typing in Beginning Guitar Lessons and finding not one but hundreds of on line, free tutorials. And so for the next two hours, I studied three chords, D, C and G. And the next day I did the same for about a half an hour. Until by weeks end I had it. I could make the transition from each chord. And much to my surprise there are hundreds of three chord songs out there! And by the following week I had one. I memorized Cat Stevens Father and Son using the same three chords and proudly sang it to my wife and kids who didn't need to say a word. I saw in their faces that they enjoyed it. In fact my wife asks me to play it when company comes over!

Skip forward six months and thanks to youtube I have added the beginning of Bon Jovis Wanted Dead or Alive, another five chords and a few more songs. All of this in less than an hour a day. And you know what? There are a hundred other things waiting for you to discover. To take an hour or less and learn something new. Even turn it into a hobby. Want to learn to scrapbook? To make candles? To draw portraits or write screenplays? Or even to Salsa Dance? You don't even have to leave your home. And I guarantee you, you'll be happy you did.

Don't put things off when in this day and age we literally have the tools at our fingertips to make ourselves better. To maybe discover something or learn something about ourselves we never knew existed. I challenge you to start today. And please, if you take me up, post what it is you started and how you are doing. I'd love to hear!

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