I don’t know those ways, Rose, and I’m too old to learn!
Do you ever feel like this? Sometimes I think we get so used to the grind of daily life and set in what we “do” and “don’t do” that eventually many of us decide that there is a finite amount of stuff we can learn. Is this because time often feels limited? Maybe it has something to do with the traditional approach to careers, especially as we see folks of past generations doing the same thing for decades until they retire?
I have to admit that I still am working through that mentality, and trying to accept that although that may be right for some, I can’t see myself doing the same job all my life or at least, not without constantly weaving my other interests into my work. Since I have so many interests and avenues I want to explore, it often makes me feel like I’m mediocre at a lot of things, and an expert at nothing.
“Expert” - that’s a funny concept, isn’t it? It’s as if there is a level that you can reach and then you’re done and there is nothing else for you to learn. Can you imagine what life would be like if there really was that type of ceiling? I suppose some people grow tired of learning, growing and expanding their mind or being in that vulnerable position of not knowing much and therefor, tend to dismiss learning and stick with what they know (or as the case may be, what they think they know.)
I prefer to keep it real and appreciate when I see others unapologetically letting everyone see that perfection does not exist and that the human experience is always evolving, changing and moving and therefor, there’s not even a small shot in hell that any one of us are going to get it perfect on the first try. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from being very hard on myself and setting (arguably) unrealistic standards for myself.
I recently listened to the Mindkiller podcast, hosted by Anya Davidson who interviewed Heather Gabel, visual artist and singer of HIDE back in May. (Also, she’s really awesome and I feel like if we hung out we’d have a pretty smashing time talking about music, art, motherhood and feminism but I digress.)
This exchange between Anya and Heather perfectly sums up where I’m mentality at a lot of the time verses the mentality I’m trying to embrace a little more day by day:
A: I feel like if I’d buckled down and learned some of that stuff I would be an expert in certain areas, and I just feel like I can’t get to that level with things.
H: I’m not interested in that. I like the limits of my… lack of experience. That goes against the reasons that I get joy out of doing those things; it’s because I don’t know what’s going to happen or what I’m doing and it’s coming from a creative place.
Heather Gabel essentially gave me a figurative “Snap out of it!” smack via her take on not being an expert on something, but figuring it out anyway. I get more anxiety than I care to admit when I enter a situation and I have no or little experience. All I can think to myself is that I want to be an expert at whatever it is that I’m attempting to do.
I’m getting better at cutting myself some slack when I can feel that I’m being a little bananas in my expectations, but it’s a process and a practice. One of my goals for the year is to implement this more and hopefully, come to the close of 2019 with more of Heather’s mentality.
In friendship and cheesecake,
Photo credit: Heather Gabel’s Instagram