The working title of this blog post was: becoming a trained killing machine, but I thought that may set the wrong tone (or get me reported to some higher authority and I don’t really have the time to deal with that right now).
So I’m going to take you back to the beginning of this academic year. I made a promise to myself that I was going to do my best to tackle something that has plagued me my entire life: perfectionism. Now all you avid readers out there (hello mum) will know that my initial focus for tackling this was learning to cock up (and to a certain extent I’ve been managing that quite well) but I’ve since discovered another tactic: trying new things.
My education up until this point has been very results focussed, and for that reason I have been almost allergic to trying anything I might be bad at. Of course, it’s only recently that I’ve realised that there is literally nothing stopping me from doing whatever the f*ck I want. There isn’t a PE teacher telling me I’m crap, or some arsehole at school telling me I don’t look like I exercise. I’m free. Well, don’t get me wrong arseholes still exist (although you probably didn’t need me to tell you that) but letting go of the need for their approval opens up a lot of opportunities for you and once you get started, it’s moderately addictive.
My first ‘new thing’ was running. I mean in the grand scheme of things it’s still a new thing (I worked it out the other day and its been about 5 months). It got to the point a few weeks ago when I started running my first 10Ks that it struck me: if I hadn’t done the new new thing in June, if I hadn’t stuck myself on a treadmill and forced myself to keep going, then I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing right now. I wouldn’t be going outside every day and toddling around in nature, I wouldn’t have been to cross country, or parkrun. I would be sat in my room being my usual cave-dwelling self.
I suppose it was then that I realised that new things aren’t really new for that long. Unless you don’t do anything, it’s near impossible not to improve (even if it’s just a little bit). Essentially, you only stay sh*t at something for the duration of time you refuse to try it because of your sh*tness. Each additional time you practice you get less sh*t and it becomes less new (I hope everyone of a sensitive disposition is appreciating the effort I’m putting in with the asterisks here).
So my running has led to several other exciting new things. Including, taking up Krav Maga (google it), cutting most of my hair off on a whim (not in a Britney Spears meltdown way, promise), and buying a swimming costume (not as exciting but swimming is my next new thing on the list). I’ve also signed up to do my first ever half-marathon in March 2019 (less than a year after I started properly running) which I need to keep telling people for accountability so I don’t wuss out (also because it sounds fancy, I can’t lie).
I suppose if there was any point to this post at all, it was that not trying something because other people will be better than you at is is not an excuse. For all of us who have been brainwashed by the education system to believe that things are only worth doing if you’re better than other people at them, it’s bollocks. Absolute bollocks.