Life Lesson: Use it or Lose it!

Let’s start with a picture that I drew back in 1999 or thereabouts. I was in college then, studying a mixture of science and humanities. I dabbled with art just for fun. Sometimes I drew doodles of animals and mailed them (in an envelope with a STAMP, can you imagine?!) to my sister. One time I sent her a cartoon about “Dangerous Alley Rabbits.”

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Now, I’m not going to claim that this is great art. I was never great at art. But I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t sketch a scene with alley rabbits that’s even as “good” as that now. See, I quit drawing for fun. In the last few years I’ve done a bit of painting, but I am not in the habit of sketching or doodling anymore.

And it shows, as you can see from this 2019 doodle:

That little bird has personality, but it also has . . . problems? It’s not like I can draw from my memories of holding a pencil twenty years ago; I’ve forgotten how to do it.

That’s my lesson for February: if you don’t lose your skills, you may lose them. I think this is the flip side of the saying that “practice makes perfect.” You need to practice not just so you progress, but so that you don’t regress. This applies to music, to art, and (I think) to writing.

So keep writing! (Or drawing, or stitching, or otherwise making.) Use it or lose it!