I’m not “great” at anything (well, except for maybe diligently blogging to you, I guess). I had this thought when I stumbled across an old acquaintance on a dating app. He reached out to me, and we briefly messaged back and forth. I hadn’t seen him in around four or five years, and I told him about my acting hobby (more here) among other things. In a joking way he wrote back something along the lines of “let’s meet up for coffee soon and chat before you get swept away to stardom.” I know that it was just a clever (and complimentary) thing to say, but my brain instantly began to compose a series of self-deprecating replies including, “Oh, don’t worry about that! I don’t mean to brag but I’m exceptionally mediocre at all of my endeavors.”
I love that I like to dabble in new things. On this blog alone, I have written to you about my adventures in baking (more here and here), hiking (more here), writing (more here), foreign languages (more here), and yoga (more here) among other things. Additionally, there are also many hobbies that I have that I never really ended up writing about (yet, I should say…) including playing the piano, the guitar, drawing, and uh, being generally knowledge about my graduate field of study for example. While I certainly have a wide breadth of skills and interests, my performance (and I have ZERO shame in saying this) is middling at best.
Maybe this all started when I was a kid (am I therapy-ing myself here?). I had a very fortunate upbringing, which is even more apparent to me as an adult with a better perspective on life. I did ballet, karate, Girl Scouts, soccer, played the clarinet, and took Chinese lessons for crying out loud! None of these activities were my main “focus” so to speak. I was not one of those kids who had to practice an instrument for two hours a day or spend long hours at one sport and one sport only. Instead, most of these activities only consumed one to two hours a week for a few years tops. Overall, it’s safe to say that I know the basics of all the above, but I am a master of none of them.
As a concept, I admire mastery. I admire that some people have a passion for something so strong that their brains will lock onto that activity and stick with it even after the newness wears off and the real work is needed to improve. My brain is of another sort. It’s impatient. It doesn’t want to practice scales; it wants to play Für Elise. It’s overeager. If it’s already intermediate in Spanish, then, it’s in a prime position to start studying French. It’s impulsive. It wants to slot in a dance class into an already busy schedule more than it wants to study for graduate school exams. Overall—and I say this with compassion for myself—my brain behaves like a child hopped up on Pixy Stix.
Again, I admire all of you who have one thing that you love and want to pursue above all your other things. Unfortunately, my brain is not inclined to operate in such a way, and I won’t force it to. In the end, I don’t care that I am “mediocre at best.” I love that I can participate in a wide array of activities and just know so many different things. I don’t have commitment issues (I probably have attention issues though, tbh), and if the right thing comes along — the one thing that makes me want to drop all other things — I’ll accept it and I will pursue that one thing.
In the end, I hope we are all able to do what makes us happy 🙂