Anyone Can Do It!

Post by community member:

I’m living, breathing proof that anyone can learn anything at any age!


Since early childhood I, being the youngest of five, really never tried to excel in anything in particular. Oh, I had lots of interests but nothing that I wanted to pursue. I didn’t need to, I was the ‘baby’. And the odds are another member of my family had already been there and done that anyway.

So I trained as a nurse and worked in that field for over 22 years. When I retired, I discovered I didn’t know squat, except for health related issues, of course. And to make matters worse I didn’t even want to know how to cook, sew or garden. Sounded like more work to me! I was the “If you can’t buy it in a can or frozen you don’t need it” person. Fast food, instant everything, hey, why not? It supports the economy, don’t you know? Saves valuable time for other things. Yes, I had a T.V. back then. (But not for about 20 years now).

Fast forward to single, retired and living on a limited income. Could I learn to cook, can, sew and garden in order to supplement my own existence at the ripe old age of 65? Where to start and could I do it?

One thing is necessary to even attempt such a thing–a sense of humor and being able and willing to laugh at your own mistakes, disasters and failings. One example was my first pressure cooker adventure. It ended well, but not before I ran out of the house into the yard because I was certain it was ‘gonna blow‘. It didn’t, but my sister almost wet herself when I told her the story. Oh, by the way, she CAN cook, sew, use a pressure cooker, and work, as well as raise a child.

So fast forward again, I’m 72 now and have actually made bread (I’m getting better at it), matzoh, and tortillas. I’ve successfully started seeds and transplanted the seedlings and not killed a single one of them.

I started to can veggies (I’m a vegetarian) although with fear and trembling and after much, much research.

The drying of vegetables came easier. It’s actually quite fun to dehydrate veggies. I did start out using frozen chopped or sliced foods but soon graduated to preparing fresh veggies, herbs and fruit. The extra work preparing the food made me feel as if I had accomplished more, even though the results were about the same.

I have to say, it’s rather mind boggling to feel at a loss when dealing with common terms that are second nature to folks who have been raised using them or learned early on. Cake flour, all purpose, and bleached? And what do they each do best? Baking soda, baking powder, what the heck is leaven? Don’t laugh. Please!

My ah-hah moment occurred when it dawned on me that there are lots of so-so cooks, as well as no-cooks out there. I. Am. Not. Alone. The bread doesn’t have to be perfect. (BTW, they DO airbrush those photos in the food magazines). And as a matter of fact, I happen to like thick tortillas. And a casserole can be delicious even if it’s a little on the ‘watery’ side. I’ve learned you’d be surprised at what a little cheese sprinkled on top can add (rescue) in a dish.

In addition to ‘homemaking’ skills, I’ve learned that refilling the brake fluid on a car isn’t all that difficult as long as you find the correct thingy to pour the fluid into. You know what? With a car, as well as in the home, it matters not if you know the correct terminology to accomplish your mission.

One of my favorite quotes is: “If you never fail, you will never learn anything“.

And you can always learn, even when you’re old as dirt!!!

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