So i've been watching the Great British Sewing Bee lately! Series 2 has just started and I'm already hooked again. Aside from the obvious appeal of sewing, tea and gentle competition on the BBC, something that one of the contestants said on last weeks show really stuck with me. She was talking about how she is the type of person who tries a lot of different things and just assumes they will be able to pick it up, and laughed it off with a comment about her terrible laminate flooring skills. I am exactly the type of person she describes, although the thing is, i'm not so sure it's a bad thing...
I will fully admit, I was the type of child to have a new hobby every single week. Just a couple of things I remember trying out then abandoning after a month or so include: stargazing, bird-watching, steel drum playing, brownies/girl guiding, insect collecting, watercolor canvas painting, flower pressing, puppet making... seriously, the list goes on and actually gets more embarrassing if you can believe that. It only continued as an adult, with multiple fleeting interests in things like badminton, card-making, jam making, piano playing, and a whole load of other things never to be looked at again after the first few weeks interest in them.
For me though, for every abandoned badminton racket and disastrous laminate flooring attempt, there's been just as many things that I have actually discovered I have a real affinity for and have stuck with as a result. I first discovered I liked sewing due to a random interest, and I've really improved since. I learned to cook partly due to necessity when moving away from home, but I soon found that I actually loved it and i've gotten so much better over the last 3 years. Acting lessons as a young child led to me being involved in singing and acting right up until my teens, and taking a chance with a gym membership last year has led to me becoming healthier and fitter than i've ever been now.
This reflects across other areas in my life too - I took a chance at work last year and accepted a job assignment that was completely out of my comfort zone, and it was honestly the best decision I ever made, giving me much more confidence in all aspects of my life, and helping nudge up my seniority at work due to my increased knowledge of the job I was doing and being more comfortable around my more senior colleagues. I had a brilliant summer and learned a lot from what I was doing and the people I was working with. Yes it could have crashed and burned - but it didn't, and that's what matters to me in the end.
I honestly believe that having the confidence to try new things stems from, amongst other things, being encouraged to try a large range of hobbies without being put off by the thought of failure at them. I don't feel too guilty when I do abandon something, because if I'd never tried it, I'd never have known if I liked it or not, and could have possibly missed out on something I really enjoyed as a result.
So I guess what I'm trying to say with this post, is try not to feel too bad about that neglected hobby you've pushed to the back of your cupboard because it just wasn't for you, or that volunteering job you quit after a month because you realised it was giving you nothing useful. Commitment is a valuable asset of course, but if you don't try a wide range of things, you're not really giving yourself a big choice of things to commit to. What if I was destined to be the next piano prodigy, but I never was because I never tried it in the first place? When you do discover the things you love and can excel at, you'll want to stick to them and see yourself improve at them, and whether that's a hobby, a job, or any other aspect of your life, believe me - you'll certainly recognise it when it turns up. In the meantime though, have as many hobbies as you want to and don't let anybody make you feel bad for being 'flaky' or whatever else. You'll get there in the end.