Life Long Intellectual Pursuits

I’ve always been curious. I remember having coffee with my cousin and her boyfriend as a teenager and saying, in my naïvety, that I wanted to know everything about everything, to know all that was knowable. Even then I knew that was impossible, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to know as much about the world as I could. As time went on I started to dive deeply into different subjects, and put off others till I had more time. Now that I’m looking at forty and an ever growing list of things to learn and do, I’m experiencing something new… panic at the thought of running out of time.

I always assumed that I’d have more time later to learn the things that I want to learn. How to play guitar and piano. Ride a horse. Play chess.1 Paint like Bob Ross. Woodworking. Gardening. Scuba diving. The list goes on. I’ve started wondering about prioritizing these pursuits according to season, time, and, eventually, health. I run today because I want to be healthy enough to keep learning and doing as I get older.

I was thinking about these things over the weekend when I bought new strings for my guitar. I bought the guitar ten years ago with the intention of learning to play, but one thing or another has always come up, and I figured that later was always a better time than now. Last night I was tuning the guitar2 and mentioned to my daughter that “someday” I was going to learn how to play it.

“No time like the present!” she said as she left the room.

She’s right. The finger tips of my left hand are sore this morning, because last night I pulled up a YouTube video and started learning how to play. I may not be able to do it, I might not be able to learn everything I want to know or be able to do. I will fail from time to time. But… “if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”3

After all, “life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

  1. I mean really play chess. I know the basic rules and can play the game, but I’d like to know it in depth. 

  2. Or, well, trying to at least. 

  3. Teddy Roosevelt, The Man in the Arena