I remember ugly crying at my final high school assembly.
Which was a super chill, cool move for 17-year-old me.
But the worst part wasn’t the puffy-faced photos or “Ermahgerd, I didn’t bring a tissue!” snot disaster, it was that people assumed I was crying because school was finishing.
Although, perhaps not as embarrassing as the real reason … which is that I was
spiralling into a nerdy abyss of despair upset I didn’t get Dux.
Two of my very clever dude pals, Chris and Prashant, tied to receive it and I came in a very bitter third.
I did actually get the English Cup and Creative Writing Award (#humblebrag), so really shouldn’t have complained with my leaking eyeballs quite so much, but c’est la vie, that is the life of a maniacal hormonal nerd.
Fun fact: Prashant bet me in academic awards so regularly that one of my mum’s good friends only knew him as “Effing Prashant”. She knows how to flick that pageant mum switch.
“What has this got to do with anything?”
It’s mainly just funny. But also, I feel like it illustrates the sincerity of my Leslie Knope Energy.
Which is an important part of this post’s story, because it’s all about lifelong learning and bettering yourself.
Which I think we can all agree is a lame title, and that’s why I went with: Don’t be dumb.
As a side note, I was actually very tempted by Nobody likes a dumb-ass. It’s my second-to-last blog post in this series you guys, and I’m getting loose.
What I’ve been learning lately
So you know how I’ve been writing a screenplay (see: Chapter 28: Writing a screenplay), well, fun fact, I don’t know how to write a screenplay.
So I’ve been reading these books from the local library …
Listening to this podcast …
Reading through screenplays of movies I love and know like the back of my hand (like Mean Girls) to learn their form.
And researching what further education options there are for screenwriting in Wellington (where I live in New Zealand), or online.
I think it’s safe to say, I’m a real Harry Hard-out.
“But what’s this got to do with me?”
And if I may ask you a question in response, dear reader, what are you learning about right now?
What are investing time and mental energy into?
And if your answer is:
Don’t feel bad! Feel like a badass, because you’ve just had a wild opportunity come knocking.
This is your chance to do something different, to chase your dreams, and to invest in yourself.
As some smug, smart person once said:
“Dreams don’t work unless you do” – John C. Maxwell
“Where to from here?”
The first step is to work out what you actually care about.
Some questions to ask yourself that might help:
- What job would I do for fun? Even if no one ever paid me to do it.
- What’s a problem in the world that interests or enrages me, and that I’d like to help fix?
- What was a subject I always loved at school, but haven’t done since I sobbed at that last assembly …?
- Who do I look up to? What is it about them that I would like to be able to do too?
And then what I would do, is exactly what I did with screenwriting:
- Go to the library
- Research different resources online (YouTube tutorials, blogs, online courses, higher education options)
- Listen to podcasts
- And talk to someone who’s doing the thing you want to be able to do. That’s always my favourite. I love learning from people.
Start! And know that you’ll probably feel confused, overwhelmed, and generally like an idiot when you first try something new.
We all do.
But then you learn, and you grow, and the new thing isn’t so new and scary anymore, and actually, you’re a little bit badass at it.
Apart from the obvious benefits of increasing in personal fulfilment, achievement, purpose, self-belief and self-esteem ... sounds terrible, right …?
It’s basically anti-aging cream for your mind, and helps to grow and improve your memory and mental sharpness as you age.
Avoiding the end of The Notebook
On a slightly more serious note, as someone with Alzheimer’s Disease in my family, I’m pretty personally invested in doing all I can to keep my brain and mind healthy and well.
If this is something you’re interested in, I recommend having a read of this article about Alzheimer’s prevention.
The pillars of brain health are actually quite surprising. Let’s gooo, Mediterranean Diet! *Swells with Italian pride, olive oil in hand*
What would you love to learn more about? You should totally do it. I believe in you.