Syllabus: Categories

I’ve mentioned that I started this blog to chronicle and structure my attempts at learning, but I don’t think I’ve ever talked about what I want to learn. It’s actually one of the two things about this blog I feel most self-conscious about, along with my excessive use of the word “I.” I keep imagining either or both my readers rolling their eyes and muttering “Okay, what does he/she/they/whatever want to learn, and when are they actually going to learn it?”

The short answer is “Everything, and as soon as possible.”

The long answer is, well, long, so it’s going to be split between multiple posts. You’re about to start reading an overview of stuff I’d like to able to do, written in preparation for designing a syllabus, if you can call it that.

I’ve divided what I want to learn into seven broad categories. Five of those are associated with specific arenas where they’re most relevant, while the latter two are more general. There are doubtless individual tricks and techniques which don’t fit neatly into any of the categories, but they can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

The five arena categories are named for the buildings where they’d most likely be applicable: school, pub, office, studio, and gym. These aren’t literal correspondences – I’m unlikely to ever work in an office, and I’m likelier to be found in a cafe or restaurant than a pub – but mental shorthands, designed to help me get a grip on each area.

The names may not be as obvious to everyone else as they are for me, so here’s a brief explanation. School skills are formal academic abilities, of the kind most people forget once they graduate. Pub skills are informal life skills, mostly revolving around social adeptness, while office skills refer to anything that would help me earn a living. Rounding out the list are studio skills, which include everything artistic, and gym skills, which cover everything physical.

The more general categories are languages, which should be self-explanatory, and meta, which is the foundation on which everything rests. That is, it’s the skills which enable learning.

This post is turning out much longer than I anticipated, and my fingers are starting to ache. I’ll leave the lists of what I actually want to learn for another day.

Is It Really That Obvious?

Sometimes, it seems as though everyone who gets to know me asks if I have autism. My response is usually to mutter something inaudible and avert my eyes, but I mean to say something like “I don’t know, but I’ve never been diagnosed.”

As it happens, I saw my psychiatrist today. I asked if it was possible I was on the autism spectrum, and he said “I’ve been wondering about that, actually.”

The upshot is that I should be seeing him for a longer assessment in a couple of months, and after that, possibly referred to some kind of specialist service. But now I’m wondering if I’ve been acting in autistic ways my whole life, without noticing anything amiss. It’s kinda disturbing, even if it would explain a bunch of stuff.


To be honest, my current patch of incoherence is at least partly due to fear.

When I made the “Changes” post, a few days back, I promised to come back and write about what I found, forgetting that any degree of commitment makes me panic.

So having made that commitment, I started to dread writing a follow-up post. And what better way to excuse myself from blogging than temporarily losing the ability to string words together?


Since I dropped out of school, ten years back, my life has been fairly stagnant. For the last nine and a half years, I’ve been trying to change that.

As you might have guessed, this hasn’t worked. I’m still in much the same position I was at age seventeen, save for being a hundred pounds heavier and a tiny bit wiser.

This isn’t supposed to be a whiny autobiographical sort of blog, so I’ll spare you all the gory details. But if this blog is going to work as intended, I need to work out how to break out of this swamp.

So for the next week or so, I’m going to be investigating how other people have managed to turn their lives around, and blogging about what I find.