One of my favorite shows of all time was a short lived series on NBC entitled “The Pretender”. To give you a synopsis of the series, a young man who had been held captive since childhood for his savant-like genius is on the run from his captors and uses his natural abilities to quickly learn new skillsets in order to impersonate any profession so that he may assimilate into the current location without raising any suspicion. It was based on a real life serial imposter – Ferdinand Waldo Demara.
I think what made this a favorite series for me was the fact that the character, Jarod, demonstrated that one could be anything if they took the time to invest in learning. He adapted in order to stay on the run and in hiding.
This goes back to my grandmother’s tenet –
“You do what you have to do to survive.”
I cannot stress that enough. Adaptability is key to making it in this world. I know full well that routine is comfortable. Maybe even preferred. However, change is all around us; some predictable – others unpredictable.
In the years I have been put on this earth I have learned a variety of skills:
- Psychology – Experimental Design and Counseling
- Visual Arts – (Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, Silkscreen, Ceramics, Sculpture, Glasswork)
- Art History
- Art Framing – Gallery work
- Basic Food preservation – jams, marmalades and jellies
- Textile Arts – (Crochet, Knitting, Basic needlework, felting)
- Software Testing and Programming
- Database administration
- Basic Plumbing Home repair
- Household upkeep skills
- CPR and First Aid
- Basic conversational Spanish
- Website building – HTML Markup
- Sight reading music – Percussion
Overall, it seems like a short list for my 52 years compared to what Jarod achieves in just 4 seasons of the show. But the point is: If we give the time, we can learn and master a number of skills to the point of becoming what my High School English teacher referred to as a “true renaissance man/woman”. This is one who has amassed knowledge in a variety of skills for practical application – they are highly adaptable to any challenge. They can pick up a new skill with ease.
These are the people who survive, those who can do anything. They see learning as a vehicle toward problem solving or keeping mobile.
I think you said to me once that you will eventually “learn to cook” via youtube. I reckon you have to have your back pressed against the wall in order to get there. But know that curiosity, in addition to interest and necessity, is key to ongoing learning.
Be nosey, ask questions, find out why. Don’t accept the current situation as is and believe you have no influence in the path or outcome of the situation.