Before I was married my grandmother (well, Richard's grandmother, but she's mine too now!) gave me a challenge. I had been telling her about all the things I wanted to learn now that I was out of school, and she told me that what she had done was choose ONE THING each year to learn for self improvement. My automatic reaction was to think that was a MUCH too slow way of doing things. I want to learn everything now!! But as she explained I began to understand how wise a plan it was. While in my 20s spending an entire year on one subject seems a bit much, but if a person makes a habit of that throughout their lives, by the time they are 80 they will have a very wide list of experiences!!
I am a very inquisitive person. I get that trait from my grandmother--mom's mother. I don't know how often I have heard the phrase "Curiosity killed the cat!!" in response to a series of questions I asked, then retorted, just as I'd heard my grandmother, "but satisfaction brought it back!!"
As such a curious person there are a lot of things I would love to learn. Gardening, drawing, oil painting, watercolors, basket weaving, calligraphy, cake decorating, card decorating, various forms of dance, embroidery, soap making, candy making, canning, herb identification.... Ah!! It all sounds so wonderful! I'm drooling just thinking about it all.
This year, however, my first priority is my husband. Of course, throughout our lives he'll be first before anything else but God, but this first year is different. It is special. Biblically God put a high priority on the first year of marriage by requiring that a man cannot go to war the year after he wins a bride. Taking extra time at the start of marriage to build a strong foundation is critical to a healthy marriage.
Right now I am working nearly full time and learning to keep a home running in good order. Several evenings a week are already scheduled, and the evenings we have left together are precious to me. I am sure my husband would be willing to invest one evening a week in me to learn a new skill, but I don't think I am willing to make that investment. Not this year.
So, my requirement this year for my new skill to focus on is that it can't take up any precious evening time to learn. It can't compete, even on a very small level, for my time with him. As long as I am working during the day, that requirement knocks out any new skill that requires a class or teacher. In fact, I thought it knocked out my entire list!!
But then I realized there are two things I already wanted to learn this year that I can learn on my own, and fit around time with my husband. I've wanted to develop these skills for years now, and this year is the first opportunity for one of them, and a good chance to work on the other one. So--what are the skills I'm working on this year??
I'm really looking forward to working on these two areas!!!