I love to learn. I could go to school for the rest of my life and be happy. I like to be in a classroom or reading a book or listening to a new story on something that I’ve never known existed or heard about before. I like to research and form new ideas from new information I learn in either a formal or informal setting. One of my resolutions for this year is learn something new every day, and I can honestly say that I have been doing that.

The problem with learning new things, though, is that it makes me a beginner over and over again in each new category – and I don’t like being a beginner. I like to think that I have it all together, that I am competent and can do anything I put my mind to. And I can. I simply can’t do it the first time I try it, and that’s frustrating.

I want to be an instant expert in everything, especially things that interest me. I look at people who have been doing a particular thing for a while and think I should be able to do that, be it playing an instrument or riding a difficult biking trail. I watch myself struggling and I’m sure I’ll never be that graceful. It makes me want to give up before I even begin, and it certainly doesn’t foster me wanting to continue to learn and get better. I forget that those people I envy so much were beginners at one point, too. They weren’t always so graceful, and maybe it isn’t as easy for them as it looks to me from the outside.

I also miss some great opportunities to ask for advice or learn tips that would help me when I’m wrapped up in my own thoughts instead of being interested in the other person and what he or she is doing well. I miss the opportunity to connect and learn even more. And I lose the opportunity to grow my skills.

I wonder, too, what opportunities I miss to give my knowledge and teach my skills to others because I am only paying attention to what I can’t do instead of what I can do. How do I encourage others who are learning something I know well? How can I do that better? How can I learn to be patient and compassionate to myself when I know that I am just learning something new? How do I acknowledge the painfully slow progress I am making along the way? How can I do this for you?