I’ve only published two posts and I’m already doubting myself. I’m wondering why I’m bothering to write a blog when there are so many blogs out there already, particularly at the moment those about mental health. Why add another one? Who will be interested in what I have to say? What have I got to say that’s any different? I hardly have the time in the day to feed myself anything other than mini cheddars, so should I be giving up the wee hours after little one is in bed towards writing a blog? Am I good enough?
I’ve always been an all-or-nothing person. I throw myself into the latest thing that sparks my interest. The first time was when I was in love with Jon Bon Jovi (cringe) and I dreamt of being an amazing guitarist and wowing all my friends with my talent. I’d front a rock band and make loads of money. I’d be that cool girl playing guitar. 16 years and 4 guitars later I still can’t play a single chord. I’ve been through the same thing to varying degrees with rock climbing, jewellery making, speaking Spanish, surfing, even growing vegetables. I have so much momentum and passion at the beginning, but then I reach the first hurdle, think I can’t do it and decide that it’s not for me. I then spend way too much time inside my head wondering what I should be doing with my life. What am I good at? What is my ‘thing’? What is my passion?
The thing is, I still don’t know. But it’s ok.
Part of the journey towards dealing with my anxiety was understanding what was causing this pattern. I’m a perfectionist, and I only really like doing things that I’m good at. I start with the best intentions but as soon as the initial momentum and ‘beginners luck’ has worn off I realise that it’s hard work to get better. And what’s the point in being mediocre… when all I want is to be the best. I waste a lot of time putting things off because the circumstances aren’t perfect too. They are not what I imagined in my head. I don’t have the expensive piece of kit that (I think) I need, I don’t live near enough to the sea, I only have half an hour this evening so what’s the point in practicing now when it’s not enough time, I really need to do that important thing on my to-do list so I’ll start tomorrow once I’ve got that out of the way (reality – there is always something more on the to-do list). I make excuses and I put barriers in the way. Time passes and I’ve quietly tidied the new fad away into the spare room/cupboard/loft and moved on hoping that no one will notice. When someone asks how the hobby I was so excitedly telling them about a few months before is going I hang my head in shame and mutter some kind of excuse about lack of time.
When you’re a beginner you are far from perfect, there’s no getting around that. Even if you find yourself with a natural ability for something, it takes time and consistent effort to get to where you want to be. The game changer for me has been the realisation that you have to enjoy the process rather than the end goal.
You commit to doing something over and over, some days you get a little better, other days you take a step back, some days you amaze yourself and suddenly nail it. And you carry on. But the important thing is that you enjoy the process. Even on those frustrating days when you seem to take a step back – you can take pleasure in knowing that it’s a necessary step on the learning curve.
Since I’ve been working on this my life has been less about ‘finding my passion’ but about exploring things again, each day as it comes. Funnily enough, I’m clearer about what it is that I like doing now.
Now I know that I’m interested in soooooo many things but I don’t have to give my attention to them all at the same time. It’s ok for some things to go on the back burner. I know that I will always absolutely adore having yoga and running in my life but right now I can’t give them my all. I’m making do with snatched 10 minutes here and there, self-practice at home that’s a little rough round the edges. While I used to dream of running mountain races in far flung destinations I now cannot wait to lace up my shoes and go for a gentle jog through the farmers’ fields again.
So here I am today, catching myself before I fall into old habits. I’ve got to stop worrying about whether people are interested in my blog, whether I’m writing anything unique, whether I’ll get tons of Instagram followers, or whether one day I’ll get a book deal.
For now, I’ve settled on knowing that I’m doing this for me, and me only. I find writing cathartic. It’s been part of my healing journey. I want to keep a record, for me. Hopefully through doing this daily I will become a better writer. So, each day, I write. It doesn’t matter if I’m lucky enough to have a couple of hours to sit and focus quietly while my husband takes the baby out, or if it’s a few notes quickly scribbled whilst they come into my head as I’m out and about. I always feel better when the words are out of my head and onto paper. I love the careful crafting of bits and pieces of writing, the editing of a jumbled stream of consciousness that I’ve recorded. The bad days where I feel there is so much to say and I can’t write it quick enough but it makes no sense. Then the good days where I find the flow and the words come quickly and easily as I type. The lightbulb moments when I feel what it is that I’m trying to say with a bunch of messy words. The joy at reading a completed piece. I’m taking the good days and the bad. I’ve learned to love the process and I’m so much happier for it.