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yearning to learn

The beginning stages of learning a new skill can be frustrating. As an adult, we are not used to being beginners. It can feel uncomfortable or embarrassing even, to stumble as a novice into a new activity.

The thing is, once you stop worrying about what others may think of your ability, being a beginner can be liberating. You are forced to look at your skills in a completely new way. You need a little naivety, optimism and acceptance when you are a novice. Humble character traits that may also serve you in your daily life. You have to open yourself up to being a newby and you need to be daring in your exploration of the topic at hand.

When I first started to make art again as an adult I was so nervous about wracking a page that I did not create much at all. I felt that every drawing had to be wonderful and meaningful. If I could not think of something amazing I stared at the page for ages until I decided that inspiration was not coming and to put my materials away again.

What I did not realise is that I had to learn to be a beginner. Not all my work was going to be great. Lots of it was outright terrible. Does that mean it was a waste of time making it? Absolutely not. All those drawings have taught me something unique. Some taught me how to look closely and observe. Some taught me how to use my colours. Some taught me that you cannot paint on all materials. And all have taught me that I rather create 'terrible' art than no art at all.

I like to think that learning is not just for the young. Although it may seem that mastering things comes easier to kids, perhaps the reason is this, kids are practiced learners. As kids learn new things all the time, they are experts at the skill of learning. When we think we know what we need to know to get by as adults, we stop practicing the skill of learning and forget how much fun it is.

Learning is something that comes different to each of us. It very rarely happens in a straight line. The idea that you find a new hobby, start practicing and you steadily get better until you are a master is an ideal that not often is realised. Learning is hard, many times you plotter forward and struggle until suddenly it clicks. That exhilarating point of enlightenment creates an instant jump in your skill and for many of us these jumps are what give us the motivation to practice on.

I hope you are not staring at clear pages worrying about making mistakes as I once did. Live is too short. I hope that instead of feeling stumped, you jump into trying new things on a regular basis. Explore new activities, cook new recipes and find new routes on your way home. You do not need to see all new hobbies through until you master them. There is a value in only learning the basics of the Japanese, trying pottery once and dancing just for fun. The more you make yourself familiar with the feeling of being a beginner, the less scare it will be to try the new.

I hope you are all looking after yourself,

Take care and stay creative.

Warm wishes,


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