Rewinding back 15 years to when I had to miss my 5th grade final exam because I had chickenpox. Being the nerd that I was, I was really upset. So my mother quarantined us in a room for two weeks and made sure that I would remember this fondly. She taught me how to make stocking flowers. Now, every time I think of chickenpox, I think ‘oh, that’s the time I learnt how to make stocking flowers!’
When we look back at the past our brain has a tendency to remember the good feelings and experiences. It drops the bad emotions in the memory dump. I guess that is why nostalgia is often described as “a positive toned evocation of a lived past”.
If you’re thinking “big deal, you were a child, I’m too old to learn a new skill”, then hear this:
When I went to college, let’s rephrase, when the center-of-my-mother’s-world, her 18 year old daughter, went to college, there was a void in her life. We were (and still are best friends). Long distance wasn’t something we had mastered.
She called me a month later and told me “I’m going back to college too”. She was a 40 year old woman, with a masters in inorganic chemistry, signing up to attend photography school with 18 year old kids.
My mother is an uber-talented lady, she knows how to paint, knit, embroider, crochet, sing, and play a number of musical instruments but technology was not her thing. At least not back then.
Where self-doubt kills, gumption conquers! ‘Gumption’ is the feeling of drive and spirited energy, that spurs people into action. And my mother is gumption personified.
So she went back to college. She was ragged for being old, it was hard, but she didn’t care because she was too excited to learn. Eventually, she won her class over through her spirited nature (she made more friends than I did in my first year!). I’m sure she missed me, but she channeled her energy into learning something that we both had never imagined, would bring us closer with time.
She mastered photography and today, I can proudly say, my mother, Mrs Divya Agrawal is the lead photographer of Ware Innovations. Knowingly or unknowingly my mother has always taught me that:
“Our biggest regrets are not our actions, they are our inactions.”
The day before the lock down, Mom signed up for an Adobe Photoshop CC subscription. Today, like the rest of us, she’s stuck at home. She’s managing the house, cleaning, cooking and diligently learning Photoshop via online tutorials.
A year from now, when the dust settles and life gets back to normal, she will remember this as the time she mastered Photoshop!
We are blessed to be able to save the world simply by staying at home. What we make of this time is in our hands. Learn a new skill, be kind to people, stare out of the window, lose yourself in a book, teach someone something new! So that a year from now, when nostalgia sieves your memory of this time, you will have a few reasons to smile.