Quick! Before you have to get back to work on whatever it is you're working on (chopping down a tree, devouring fondue, counting paperclips), please complete the following exercise.
Name three things that you are now thankful for, but that you weren't thankful for at the time. I'm leaving the "things" part pretty open, but mine have to do with learned skills and experiences.
Here is my response.
1. Typing class in high school. I thought it was total bs at the time. Yeah, right. This will be my most useful class ever. Sure. Much more useful than all of the French I'm taking, which will be putting the real bucks (and brie) on the table when I grow up, as if I actually think about growing up other than that it'll be awesome. But I am thankful every day for what I learned on that shiny electric typewriter. There were many times in my life when the ability to type 60-ish wpm put the bucks (and Kraft singles) on the table. I can type faster than I think. So thank you typing class, or keyboarding, or whatever they called it.
2. Crappy temp jobs that taught me a lot about office work, and life in general. There's nothing like being dropped into a completely unfamiliar office environment and having to jump right in operating the switchboard and not mispronouncing everyone's last name and wondering when you can get up to use the bathroom and praying that the photocopier doesn't eat you, all while stashing an issue of the New Yorker on your lap in the hope of some downtime. I never thought that I would actually learn anything as a temp, other than how to send faxes and fly under the radar. Now that I do a lot of office work, however, I am so thankful that I know how to perform minor surgery on a paper cutter, or how to unjam a copier (though oh how those puppies have changed over the years). I am also a lot more appreciative of administrative staff. I still send my own faxes, too, even though the machines don't make that delicious screeching sound any more.
3. Shop classes in junior high and high school. I always had a fascination with shop, whether it was cars or woodworking or small machines. Was it just because of the sexy safety goggles? No. I'm not sure why I enjoyed it so much, but shop class indulged the side of me that likes to take things apart. Every day I looked forward to working on my _______, and there it was, along with the other _______s, waiting for me. I don't know if shop class is designed to give artsy, bookish teens more confidence, but I think it did for me. I still remember the multi-sensory barrage of being in shop class, and I'm still not afraid to take (most) things apart. I would hazard to guess that shop class did more to inspire my writing than English class did.
So what are your three for the day? Please share, either here or at your own place.