I’ve experienced many steep learning curves over the years. The biggest of course was becoming a parent! There’s no shock to the system greater than bringing home your first child. Those nine months leading up to the big day don’t prepare you in the slightest. Actually, even bringing home your second child is pretty mind-bending.
Anyway, others, for me, have included learning to drive, first trip away without parents, leaving home, first job, new job. Apart from parenting, these all pale into insignificance with the newest and steepest learning curve I’ve had to overcome in a while and that’s technology.
I did try doing a bit of work while the girls were babies, but my attempts to get stuff done while they slept soon failed when it became apparent that they weren’t “sleepers”. The balance was out of whack and both parts of my life were a struggle. It seemed neither children nor work was getting the best of me so I stopped working and became the full time mum I’ve been, until recently, for nearly four years. Just before the summer our eldest started pre-school a few mornings a week, so Simon and I decided it would be a good time for me to ease myself back in. We split the week, three days to him, two to me, and he has the girls when I work.
So Simon excitedly sets me up an account on the computer and off I go! But little did I realise how much things have changed. Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, Web 2. What? I know I was never a tech genius but four years ago I was pretty good at using the internet and email. I even knew it was an email address and not a number (sorry, unfair joke at expense of close friend!). I felt I had to “get” these things because we’d already agreed that to pursue our goal of spending some of the year away, we’d need our work to be more portable and technology had a big part to play in that.
Twitter was the most confusing. I just didn’t get it. What the hell was everyone talking about? What did all the symbols mean? Were people actually talking the same language as me? I felt old. Inadequate. Past my sell by date. A computer idiot. Endlessly calling Simon into the room to interpret “tweets”. The more I read the more I hated it. People were just twittering on! It seemed so self obsessed! What was the point? I’m not sure Simon quite understood my frustration. He hadn’t taken four years away from the world. He thought I was just being pig headed. But I was honestly scared. Scared the world had moved on too fast and I had missed the boat. Scared I’d never get it. Scared I’d lost the ability to learn new things. Scared my mummy brain had turned to goo. And scared I’d be the one holding back our plans.
Time passed and I dipped in to Twitter. Slowly it began to make sense. Slowly I found people who spoke to me. Slowly the whole thing came alive. I still don’t claim to be fluent. I can never remember how to DM or RT without a reminder but I can shorten a URL and tweet it and even track how many people have had a look at what I’ve found or said. It turns out it’s pretty exciting!
So steep learning curves can still be climbed, age isn’t an issue, maybe attitude is, maybe willingness to try. My two days a week are great and a welcome break from being mum and my new skills are exciting but actually none of it can compete with time spent in the company of my kids. Three year old’s joke of the day – “What do penguins eat for breakfast? Worms. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.”