I recently read an article on one of my favorite blogs, Cupcakes and Cashmere , that made me think a lot about hobbies and what pursuing a hobby means to different people. I am going to confess this up front: I am a bit of a perfectionist. Which translates as it’s a constant challenge for me to engage in activities at which I am not particularly skilled or advanced. And that leads me to decide that I won’t like it before I have even considered it. I also experience a lot of anxiety when trying something new. I guess it’s the whole, I don’t want to make an idiot of myself in front of people I don’t know, thing.
In the blog post, Leslie quotes Elizabeth Gilbert’s (author of Pray, Eat, Love) newest self-help book. “Live a life that’s driven more strongly by curiosity than fear.” Every now and then a quote grabs my attention and makes me fantasize about getting it tattooed somewhere on my body. This was one of those moments. I can think of a cadre of projects, activities, and “hobbies” that I have talked myself out of before I even gave it a chance because I knew I would not be good at it (um, hi drawing, blogging, photography, knitting, playing piano, sewing, building things, parasailing, soccer, etc.) So many missed opportunities because I was leading with fear and not curiosity and love.
To be fair to myself, I took an art class in learning how to throw clay to make pottery after I finished grad school. I had so much brain space and I wasn’t learning anything new post grad school life. I decided to take the class for six months which yielded one successful yellow bowl with my name and the year carved on the bottom. I was bad, friends. Like, REALLY bad. But I conquered my fears of not knowing what the hell I was doing! I currently use that bowl as a key bowl in my entry way. Since then, I haven’t put myself in the position of public embarrassment via learning a new skill.
What I’m discovering is that a hobby does not have to be something you excel in. I’m cultivating that feeling of enjoying something even if I’m making a complete ass of myself on a public stage (i.e. my pottery class). And it doesn’t have to be something to which I devote all of my energy, patience, and will power. I am going to reclassify a hobby as “dabbling” in my mind. It’s not a huge months long commitment, rather an activity that I can enjoy that will enrich my life and maybe form a few new pathways in my brain.
With that being said, I am committing to dabbling in one new thing each month. Keep me accountable, okay? 🙂 What is something that you’ve always wanted to try but were held back by fear and doubt?