I'm glad I learned how to use F stops in my photography...do I want to isolate the subject, do I want to have a large field of focus, etc.
I'm grateful that I learned how to meter a subject using a hand held light meter, also a gray card.
I started photography back in the '60's and in my experience had to learn how to do the basics manually. I think it contributed to my understanding of photography.
But I'm also pleased that I'm still around to be fully immersed in the digital age. It's wonderful.
Old but still learning photography...I believe it's a never ending journey....if you play it right.