When was the last time I worked hard to learn something new? That is what The Daily Post is asking me to remember. I can only hang my head in shame and admit that I tend to give up quickly when I try something out that I am not good at. I am prepared to refine a skill that seems to have been lying dormant deep within me, waiting to be nurtured and grown. Languages, for example – easy peasy. Give me another one any time. But unless I feel from the outset that there is the potential for me to do reasonably well I lose interest very quickly. I am not sure why that is. It goes against the mantra I was raised with by the Nuns: that you had to work on something, anything, always. They taught that you couldn’t expect things to be good all by themselves, there had to be effort involved. Which has kept me in an unhappy marriage for longer than was really necessary. In fact I might never have taken the decision to get married then had I had the insights I do now: I now know there are key things you not only can, but should expect feel natural and good without any effort, and relationships with a partner firmly belong in that category. Of course there will be little niggles but if the relationship itself feels like it is work rather than enrichment, ditch it. It drains rather than adds to your life. Nuns, what do they know!
I suspect that laziness and competitiveness both play a role in my tendency to give up quickly. There just isn’t much spare time in my life, and even less energy. It serves me well to direct the energy I do have effectively: it helps get through the challenges of every day life. However effectiveness is not conducive to trying out new things just for the heck of it. Testing potential requires a certain abundance of energy I can’t always muster. Which is a shame really: I must be missing out on tons of experiences.
In my defense I took a leap of faith just last week and attended a yoga class for the first time in my life. I had always believed yoga was not for me, but I enjoyed it and I am going back next week. You guessed it, I did allright. I managed to stretch and contort myself as instructed, and nobody knows every muscle in my body ached the next day. Did you know you can overstretch your foot soles?
The yoga class was not competitive. It is simply impossible to stare at other people while you’re straining to keep your balance and holding your gaze at the ceiling or over your shoulder or some other uncomfortable place. That may have helped. I don’t like being really bad at something other people clearly find easy to do. It makes me feel inadequate. It makes sense to leave the stars to it and find something I can be good at, doesn’t it? Why torture yourself? Find your niche!
I find I feel less guilty admitting this to you all than I had expected. A feeling of loss actually pervades instead: I realize I miss out on the sense of achievement that comes with accomplishment. I mostly pursue interests and activities that seem achievable, and when I get good at them it merely feels as if I’ve completed a set track. I don’t excel or beat the odds. Catch-22 really: I would love a sense of real accomplishment, but I can only get it by getting good at something I have lost interest in, and what is the point of that? I’ll have to work on feeling more proud of the things I can do, regardless of the effort that was involved. Stuff the Nuns’ teachings.
That’s it: I want to move to the movies. People are emigrating to Australia and other laid-back, sunny destinations for a better life, but I want to move to the movies. No matter what ugly turns life throws at me there, I’ll always come out a winner. I might not win the way I had expected – in fact the best stories hold a surprising finale – but I’ll end up happier in the end. And the sun always shines. Except when I’m threatening someone, then the thunder and rain gods will oblige and act out my wrath much more effectively than I ever could.
The most extraordinary things happen in the movies: one-in-a-million chance encounters, fluke strokes of luck, unexpected inheritances, and the like. And when they don’t, I’ll just skip the dull bits and fast-forward to the next exciting event. I can always rely on the writers engineering drama, and I know they love me so I’ll be fine. They also give me someone to blame when things go wrong.
When something terrible upends my whole life, I’ll sit tight and ride out the course. I will be taken through some unexpected turns that turn out to be golden opportunities: might I finally discover what I really want with my life? I might still die in the end, but I’ll die happy thanks to the amazing experiences my life story has given me. And through it all I know I’m entertaining millions of people. I’d better not take myself too seriously.
I am moving today. My life is going to be “My Life – The Movie”. I’ll go with the flow because I know something interesting is bound to come my way, and I’ll be prepared when it does. I’ll zip through the boring and nasty bits ’till I come across the good part, and enjoy the sun. Ooh, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me!