Editor Susan Winlow and I were talking about “wearing different hats.”
I was focused on other things rather than writing. I wasn’t wearing my “columnist” hat. Wearing different hats is another term for playing different roles: being a father when it is appropriate, a lover when that is appropriate or a columnist. We are different personalities in different situations; different “social selves.”
Far from being a new idea, social Self was a part of psychologist William James’ writings in the 1890s. Many modern psychologists and writers have adopted the term as their own.
James’ concept of social Self primarily involved our interaction with other people. I have been dealing with the other social selves within myself. It’s not as silly as it sounds (or maybe it is).
With me, it is the difficulty I have in going from one self to another: the patriot, the teacher, the writer. Changing hats: taking off the self-expression hat and putting on the learning hat.
I’m finding that I seem to lack the patience to stop expressing long enough to learn something new. Learning doesn’t do anything for an old man’s ego, I guess, even though intellectually I know it is important for me to do so.
Here are a few examples:
Some time ago I realized that my eyesight was failing at a rate that one day I wouldn’t be able to function as I do now. I will have to do things in some other way. I decided that a voice-to-print program called Dragon would work for me. And it will – or would if I practiced.
Therein lies the rub. The expressive self so far has refused to commit the time to the learning self necessary to become good at using Dragon. I know I should and I know that it is self-defeating not to, but I haven’t done it. For some unknown reason I don’t seem to want to. Maybe the answer will be to marry the expressive self to the learning self and start to write a book outline using Dragon, something that doesn’t have to be ready to publish – just organizing ideas.
Then there is the new laptop computer. Having it made a lot of sense. I plan to take a trip of several weeks later this year. With a laptop I can write, email and keep meeting with my son and daughter-in-law using Skype.
I found a great buy at Walmart and bought it. It has a Windows 8 touch screen and lots of bells and whistles. Now it sits on my dining room table. No hurry, I’m thinking, I don’t need to learn all that new stuff yet. It doesn’t seem to matter that I could be using all of the good new stuff now. I just can’t seem to focus on it. Maybe I would if I were to shut my PC down for a week or two and just use the laptop, or even take it with me when I go somewhere. We’ll see.
If you have had the same experience and found a way to take on the new stuff, let me know. I can sure use the ideas on how to put the learning hat on and keep it on.
Reach Murray Bass at 427-0744 or email@example.com.