I am one of those people for whom the word retirement is finding its way into conversations with increasing frequency. The majority of my friends and acquaintances are already happily welcoming Monday mornings in the same manner they welcomed Saturdays for decades. They enjoy days of coming and going as they please, time spent in interests and pursuits of their making and for their pleasure.
They have finally achieved something close to a hedonistic lifestyle. Let it be said, however, that not one of them should be relegated to any presumed stack of grey-haired uselessness either. They are all living life to the fullest, passing hours committed to charitable deeds, socializing and the proverbial pursuit of happiness.
There is time for rest, too of course. Not, as Sir Lubbock averred, in idleness, but in moments savoured, in life and nature appreciated. They have ultimately found the time to take a break and a breath in this busy, busy life.
And then there are the hobbies. All of the untapped talents, the unexplored interests, the passions are suddenly pursued with abandon. They have become quilters and golfers, travellers and potters. Rather than filling a few spare hours not dedicated to full-time employment, they now give the things they want to do more attention than that which needs to be done.
As they zealously celebrate this reward for jobs well done over the bigger part of their lives, they continue to throw out the word to my husband and I. "When", they urge, "are you retiring." On this subject, however, we continue to be staunchly evasive. Not because we don't have some idea of the when; just that we prefer to not commit at this time.
It is, however, coming close enough that I have begun to seriously consider what interests will occupy my time during retirement. The one thing that keeps coming forward is photography. Having spent 21 years working in journalism I discovered a pleasure in capturing images that I had previously not known existed. With the arrival of my grandchildren that has only intensified. Those faces brighten every day and preserving them at each stage of this all-too-swiftly passing life is my focus.
However, with the pressure of deadlines, my education in using the image editing software was rudimentary at best. A crash course taught me what I needed to know to get the job done, and the hectic schedule left little time for advancing my limited skills.
Enter the 21st century and I'm starting to feel a little left behind. Everyone, from graphic designers to grandmas, is talking about image editing software for their projects, while my abilities have continued to stagnate. Let's face it. What's required for getting a weekly newspaper together doesn't generally get put to a lot of use when you step outside that atmosphere.
And what tends to pop up on the internet for education is often quite advanced. Seeing so many tutorials for everything from creating vectors to mastering 3D effects, I got to wondering if there's any hope for novices to catch up on their own. A few years ago I decided to scope out some tutorials geared specifically to beginners — Photoshop 101 you might say — and actually was pleased to discover there would be plenty of opportunity to up my skills when I was ready. Here's that list again, with a few new additions:
101 Photoshop Tutorials From Competent to Magnificent
mashable.com 12 Beginner Photoshop Tutorials
psdtuts+ 50 Photoshop Tutorials for Clever Beginners
makeuseof.com 10 Must-Know Introductory Photoshop Skills for Beginning Photographers
The Ultimate Photoshop Tutorial for Beginners
Photoshop Essentials Basics