Someone once told me that it takes seven years for someone to master a skill. That’s the reason, I suppose, why I love trying out new things. I think I’m lucky because I no longer have as much a fear of looking stupid as other people I know. HAHA!
This year, for the first time in my life, I:
- Tried Forro (a Brazilian dance)
- Tried swing dancing
- Went to painting and drawing classes
- Learned how to bake bread
- Started contact juggling
I like how my mindset has changed. I used to think that unless someone started when they were young, there was no way someone could get really good at anything. “She started dancing when she was three.” “He picked up the piano when he was five.” Blah blah blah… but with the more people I meet (and the older the crowd I’m exposed to) I’ve learned:
1) People can be really amazing at things, no matter what age they start. A few weeks ago, I went to a friend’s solo art exhibit. Apparently he only picked up a paintbrush around seven years ago, and now he paints for a living.
The people teaching the swing class talked about how they started fairly recently with no dance background. (A sneaky Google search showed that they picked it up around eight years ago, in their late 20s/early 30s. They started dancing professionally three years afterwards.)
So yeah… never too late to start! I don’t want to look back at myself seven years from now and wish I’d started today.
2) It doesn’t matter how good I get. I’ve always felt this way about juggling… now I feel it with some of the other things I’ve picked up. I don’t think I’ve found a hobby yet that I want to turn into a full-time career, so at this point, it doesn’t matter if I suck or not. Haha.
When people hear that I’ve been juggling for two decades now, they imagine I’m a juggling wunderkind. While I’m pretty decent, I’m nowhere near what some people at the club can do… and that’s all right. I’m going at my own pace, and doing it for my reasons, and that makes me happy.
3) It’s okay to explore and revive things. I’m definitely not going to keep doing everything I tried to do this year — no time for that! But now I know what’s out there. And I have a better understanding of what I like doing.
As for reviving things… I’ve learned to be kinder to myself. I used to beat myself up over the fact that “Oh, if I hadn’t stopped dancing when I was a kid, I would’ve been super amazing now.” I was talking to a new filmmaker friend of mine who spoke about how she didn’t stop writing from when she was a kid. I voiced my regret that when I was younger, I used to write all the time too… I wrote stories and plays and fake newspapers which I proudly printed out and kept in a binder. Somehow, I stopped. But it’s all right. I know there were reasons that I stopped — I prioritised things like studies, extracurriculars, friends, and that is okay. Besides, there’s no reason I couldn’t start writing again, could I?
Anyway, as I was writing this, I realised how lucky I am to have time and money for hobbies, be in a place where I can try so many new things, and be physically able to do things I want to do. Very, very lucky, and I’d be dumb if I didn’t make the most out of this time in my life.