Last Friday I was invited to talk to a career Lunch and Learn at a youth healing lodge in the town where I live. They currently have students who are interested in working with animals and I have become something of a local name for formerly working in veterinary medicine and so I went to talk to the students about careers in veterinary medicine.
Now you might be thinking, why is she writing about being bad at things when she was talking to high school students?? Shouldn’t she be encouraging these kids to do things they are good at? But that’s where the lightbulb moment happened for me.
After I had done my little talk and seen all the pictures of pets in the healing lodge, one of the students came back to me with the little handout that I had made about what you need to do to work in different roles in vet med, and asked “Do you have to do math?” and I laughed and said “Yes. Do you like math?” to which I got a resounding “No!”
And again I laughed, one of the workers also laughed and I was able to let this kid know that I also hate math, in fact math makes me cry, and I was able to do this. I have been able to do a lot of things that require math, because math was on the path to the things that I wanted to do. I am objectively and subjectively Bad at Math. But I had to do it, because math was essential to the path I was on, am on.
But since Friday I have been thinking about doing things we are bad at. I think we do a lot less of those things as we age. We find what we are good at and make our careers, our hobbies, and our friends out of doing those things. I’m starting to wonder if we lose out on life, experiences, learning by only sticking to what we have already learned how to do, the things we are naturally talented at doing, the things we have mastered.
And the funny thing is, I don’t only stick to things I am good at. I try so hard to play sports, roller skate, ice skate and I am not naturally athletic. I am trying to find an activity that can keep me fit for the long term and I am bad at all of them. But every time I do one, I get a little better. I am always reading, fiction and nonfiction, trying to learn a new language so that I don’t get stagnant, don’t stop learning. I’m not really afraid of being bad at something, but this idea, of doing things you are bad at is really resonating with me. It’s sticking, more than anything has in a while.
And in short, here’s a much lighter TikTok version of this post:
So anyways, I’m off to research new things to be bad at.
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