Painting is one of my favorite things to do. I’ll sit on the floor of my living room mixing colors and painting records, bottles, spare canvases and anything else I can find. I paint because I love the way colors combine, the infinite amount of shades I can create with a little knowledge of color theory and creativity. However, I am not a good painter.
Let’s not cloud my point with art’s innate subjectivity; I am bad at one of my favorite hobbies, and that does not take away from any aspect I get out of the activity. I get joy, calmness, a creative outlet, diverse skill sets and, most of all, genuine happiness out of my hobbies.
While this may seem like a simple idea, allowing this mindset to seep into my daily life has brought me some much needed freedom. There was a time in life that we stopped allowing ourselves to be bad at things, and that as budding adults we now must put all of our efforts into what we have discovered we’re good at.
There is genuine good in continuing to dedicate time to something that you enjoy, that you may never improve at. Whether your weekly session making pottery turns into a small business or results in shitty pinch pots five years later does not change the positive impact and enjoyment that hobby provides.
Not everything in your life has to be productive, and it doesn’t have to be polished either.
If you’re anything like me, you have focused a little too much on how to do things “right” or “better” in life. And while that mindset has led me to improve in my field of study and other notable areas, pushing yourself to excel in your hobbies is distracting you from enjoying them.
For all the overachievers, the perfectionists, the approval seekers: You do not need to be good at your hobbies. You can actually be laughably bad at them and still enjoy the journey.
It took me two hours to complete the Sunday New York Times crossword, with a lot of help. But I enjoy the ritual; getting up, making myself tea,and staying in bed as my roommates crowd around the screen. I roller skate, and I don’t think I’ve gone out once without falling. I almost always sustain some sort of bruises throughout the activity. But it feels like dancing on wheels and I love the feeling of spinning really fast.
There’s pressure all around us that perpetuates the idea that you have to be talented at your passion, and that while you might not be good at math or English, you should at least be good at the hobby you choose to participate in. But, why?
That perfectionist line of thinking prevents people from starting new activities that interest them, like learning an instrument or starting to surf. If you want to try it, try it, and be bad at it, because why not?
Go do things horribly. And be proud of it.