Downtime Learning

The Holidays Are Upon Us

My wife loves this time of year. She manages to turn our house into a wonderland of Christmas warmth and joy. Every year she manages to outdo the year before. Frankly I have no idea how she does it but it is simply fantastic.

And if we happen to be traveling, she makes sure Christmas follows. She always has decorations with her to warm whatever place we might be staying at. For her, this season means so much. She believes it’s so important to celebrate the many blessings we have and remember the reason for the season.

Though I love the holidays I enjoy how transformative she makes the experience which always inspires me.

Despite the pandemic and the increasing number of COVID cases yet again this year, this year feels different. More important somehow.

Time Off To Recharge

I know many of us look at this holiday season as an opportunity to get some much deserved time off and finally relax and recharge. With the craziness in all of our lives, I too look forward to this customary holiday break.

Over the past two weeks leading up to the holidays I made a special point to reach out to several people I needed to visit with – it had been too long. I asked about their year and how it had gone and what big plans they might have for the upcoming year. Of course I asked them how I can help. Can’t leave a good conversation without attempting to create a Ripple right?

Inevitably those conversations turned to questions about how each of us would be spending the holidays. It was fun to hear how so many are trying to find some semblance of normal in a time that is anything but. However, I was also shocked by how many people simply weren’t doing anything. As if almost they were unsure of what to do with a few extra days off.

A few mentioned catching up on some movies they had missed or bing watching some shows they’d been hearing about. I highly recommend Yellowstone if you are looking for one.

There were also a few more than I expected who simply said they didn’t plan on anything. They seemed at a loss to even think of anything positive that might come out of this holiday season. That honestly made me sad.

Different Approach

One particular friend seemed very down in the dumps about the holidays. His family had cancelled their holiday plans due to a family member being sick with COVID. He was staying home and the most positive thing he could come up with that he might do during his “forced time off” was sleep the days away.

I asked him if he’d be open to considering a different approach. He was curious and asked what I had in mind.

I suggested rather than retreat to the recesses of his warm, comfortable bed – which admittedly sounded tempting – why not take this time to learn something new! He seemed amused by my enthusiasm but not exactly buying what I was selling.

Until I asked him one Ripple Connection Question:

What is something you always wanted to learn but never had the time to do it?

He thought about it for a moment and then he said, “Guitar.” Really? I would never have guessed. He told me how he had his dad’s old guitar; he always intended to try and learn to play it but just hadn’t. It just sits in the corner of his home office collecting dust. “Sort of like me,” he said.

I suggested now was the perfect time to give it a try.

Personally I love playing guitar as it has become my default stress reliever. I’m not great at it but I have doubled down on my efforts to get better. He seemed intrigued and asked more questions.

This took our conversation in a really fun direction as we talked about how much the guitar had meant to his dad and why I loved it so much.

I told him this was the perfect opportunity to pick that sucker up, give it a strum and see what he could learn during his time off. Then I shared an App that I had on my phone to help him tune it and explained how it showed chords and tons of songs he could pick up with a little practice. I even shared a playlist of guitar tutorials that I had collected from Youtube.

The ton of his voice now had a tone of enthusiasm and excitement. He seemed willing to give it a shot.

Use Your Downtime To Grow

So let me ask you, what could you do with this holiday time to do something you’ve been putting off?

Maybe get started on writing that book you’ve been dreaming about writing.

Perhaps you could watch some videos and plan to make a magical New Year’s Eve feast from scratch?

Maybe get started learning a new skill by signing up for a service like Babble?

Or pick up an instrument like the guitar, the piano or that trumpet in the back of your closed from 8th grade band.

A few years ago I began to realize that every year I grow older is an opportunity to grow a little bit wiser in something. I am not at all trying to guilt you away from watching the latest Netflix series but perhaps mix in a little something that motivates you, inspires you or teaches you too. A good documentary or an educational program works. Perhaps a TED talk?

Find a little something for yourself to perhaps find a little something that inspires you to want to learn more.

For me, I just signed up for Master Class. I have been wanting to do this for a long time and I plan to use my holidays to learn something about comedy from Steve Martin and some thing about screen writing from Aaron Sorkin.

Where might I learn take me in the new year? I have no idea but I can’t wait to find out.

Oh and I plan on playing my guitar a ton as well as doing some journaling, meditating and relaxing in a few ways that doesn’t require electronic stimulation. Well, I’ll try at least.

So what about you? What could you learn during this holiday season just because you’ve always wanted to? What are you waiting for?

Stop making excuses. Start growing in something.

Ripple On!!!


Happy Holidays my dear Ripplers!


Before I go, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you for a favor. I have been hard at work developing a lot of video content to extend your Ripple knowledge and experience. I’d sure appreciate it you’d be willing to pop on over to my Youtube channel and check it out.

If you like what you see and hear, please consider subscribing and sharing with your network. That would be one amazing Ripple you could do for me so thank you!

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