Dabbling

Dabbling

So I’ve realized: I like to dabble. I like to learn something new as much as I want to learn it — and when I’m happy with my level of competency and what I’ve accomplished (and if I feel like learning more in the future, I always can), I’m ready to move on. I see I’ve felt this about gymnastics, subjects in school, jobs, hobbies, and cleaning my house. I suppose there have been equivalents in relationships too.

I’ve inwardly fought against this pull to dabble, getting stuck thinking everything needed to last forever and that something was wrong with me when I didn’t want to stay with a project, job, or whatever until I died. I thought I was being lazy or uncommitted or who knows what. Because, of course, we all need to work hard and grind and just do it until we’ve become an expert and maybe even the best (and then keep at that level for eternity) — you know, by some nebulous standard set by others (or so I hammered into myself).

Looking over my life, I see that whenever things begin to go south, most of the time I’m clenching something that is ready to be called complete (at least for the moment). But, instead of seeing the “I don’t feel like doing this anymore” feeling as a “cool, maybe I’m done” completeness (and then letting myself sit with the feeling for a while to see if I truly am done), I’ve taken it to mean that I’m doing something wrong and need to try harder. And then the resulting push to just try harder results in my life feeling harder. Which, I suppose, needn’t come as a surprise with the focuses on “harder”.

I’m starting to (slowly) remind myself that it’s okay to dabble, and then to do whatever strikes my fancy until I am happy with what I’ve done by my standard. And maybe that’s the sweet spot.

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