I’m one of those people who get frustrated when they don’t immediately become good at which ever hobby they pick up. I guess I didn’t used to be this way, because all the hobbies that I have now I was pretty bad at towards the start. But lets be real- at seven or nine I probably thought I was pretty good at things even when I was doing quite terrible at them.
I’ve struggled to pick up hobbies as an adult because of this though. I don’t like the idea of failure, even though it isn’t technically failure to be bad while you’re learning. It just feels that way. I get stuck in ruts because of it.
It’s different at work, because it’s required, but on my own free time I don’t want to deal with being bad at things. It’s been this way for a long time. But as I was singing in the shower the other day I remembered how awful of a singer I was, and I laughed, because I sing around people all the time. It doesn’t matter to me then that I’m always off tune and should never try to hit the high notes. I just do it, because it makes me happy. Music makes me happy and singing when the music stops makes me happy.
Why shouldn’t all my new hobbies be like that? Can’t I enjoy the act of things without worrying what it produces? When I hit ruts in my horseback riding I never despair because I like riding my horse even if I can’t seem to grasp a single technical thing. Sure, I’m good at riding now, but even when I wasn’t, I enjoyed the horses. My new hobbies should be like that too. It shouldn’t matter if I kill half the plants I plant in my garden because I enjoy being in the sun with my hands in the dirt. I can replant and do better next time. That’s the joy of learning, but the real joy should be in the act not the outcome.
We get hung up on outcomes, because when we’re in school or at work, our outcomes matter. When we’re handling our money or even cleaning our clothes, the outcomes matter. It’s easy to let that thought process transfer over when we’re working on things just for us. It’s easy to linger on the outcomes so much we forget the joy. But if we focus on the joy of creating, the joy of learning, some day soon we’ll also face good outcomes, because we progress when we work on things.
So please, enjoy things you are bad at. Your hobbies aren’t just made to produce, they’re made to bring joy.