Monday, 30 April 2018

Lost Skills

What skills did you have that you are aware are rusty, or worse still, now dormant?

As we gain years (nice way of saying age), our reflexes and flexibility inevitably deteriorate. Our ability to do perform some of the physical skills of years past is not what it was or is simply harder to do for as long as we used too. Chances are we will also feel the side effects of such an effort during the following day or days.

And what about our mental skills? Do skills acquired in our youth stand up when called upon after an extended period of not being used?

I come from an era where we learned the detail of long form mathematical calculations. With a pen and paper, we could easily calculate how many times 249 would go in to 14962*. I suspect all those who had these skills drilled in to them in primary school, could still perform such a calculation today. Go on, try it.

We probably also still know by heart or “times tables” at least up to the number 12.

However, I am thinking of the mental skills that were acquitted rather than drummed in to us.

My thoughts turned to this over the weekend when I received a text message from a friend thanking me for the birthday wishes I had conveyed via text a few days previously. I would describe us as being close without necessarily being in regular contact. I value her friendship and suspect she values mine.

In addition to thanking me, she shared having a new phone and not all the numbers transferred over so she doesn’t know who sent her the birthday wishes.

My initial reaction went something like “seriously, you don’t know my number?”. I was even mildly annoyed.

One of my skills is the ability to be told a phone number and to commit it to memory. It was also a skill that proved beneficial socially and in business.

Except, it “was”, rather than “is” a skill. I have lost the ability to instantly hear and then remember a phone number.

The phone numbers I remember are generally 18 or more years old. They come from a time before we had what seems like unlimited memory to record contact details in our mobile phones. My skill goes back to an era when you actually had to press the numbers on a phone keyboard in order to make a call, therefore ingraining the number in your consciousness.

It is embarrassing to admit that I don’t know by memory the phone number of my youngest son or the number of many others I regularly call.

In short, my lack of practice in remembering phone numbers and there being no need to do so, has resulted in me losing this once valuable skill.

As the saying goes, “use it or lose it”.

It is also a reminder to ensure my phone and computers are synced and everything is backed up in the Cloud otherwise my soon to be new phone may not carry over all my contacts details and that would be annoying to someone when I have to reply to a text message, asking who sent it.

To she who turned 47 on the 18th, again, happy birthday and please accept my apologies for my initial reaction to your message. Talk soon.

 ·       Answer to 2 decimal points is 60.09 (or is it?)

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