I have this really unformed theory about my brain. Something about getting better in one area and getting worse in another. Like I have this finite brain power, and I can be good at math, for instance, unless I want to learn French, or something, and then I start to suck at math. Or maybe this is just a theory about multi-tasking.
Anyway, this is what happened:
Last week, Kid #1 asked me if I knew how to do a cartwheel. She wanted to learn. And I thought of course I know how to do a cartwheel. Geez. So I cleared some space in the playroom, attempted a cartwheel, and pulled every muscle in my lower body. This was distressing. I used to be able to do cartwheels. Also, Kid #1 was not impressed.
So then I started freaking out a little – I mean, I was pretty sure I could do a cartwheel. Ten years ago I could definitely do a cartwheel. Were there other abilities I’d lost over the last ten years? I didn’t even have to think that hard. Ten years ago I could read Latin. Right now the only thing I can think of is e pluribus unum. Oh and quid pro quo. This does not qualify as knowing Latin. Ten years ago, I could do complex math. Now I work hard at calculating the tip.
I know what you’re thinking: Wow, you were a total nerd! Well, yes. But at least I was a nerd who could do cartwheels. But then I thought about all the stuff I’ve learned in the past ten years: like how to write a book, and then how to write a book that makes sense, and, hey, I had two kids and they’re turning out pretty all right, so I’ll go ahead and add parenting to the list.
So my theory is that maybe it’s a trade.
Math for writing. Latin for writing well. Cartwheels for kids.
I guess the saying is true: you’re never too old to learn. But there’s an addendum: you’re never too young to forget. Or maybe this is just a warning about the necessity of practice and commitment and the dangers of complacency.
Oh, by the way, Kid #1 is going to Gymnastics class instead.