It’s Good to be Bad

The title of this post is in the same vein as “it’s hip to be square” but considerably less catchy and lacking a boppy 80’s Huey Lewis song. Regardless, I’m going to try and make it work. To give you a bit of context, we need to take a step back into my high school days. I was one of those annoying kids who, for most of my schooling, didn’t need to work all that hard to get by. I was a bit of an all-rounder: good at most things I turned my hand to but without a particular ‘calling’ or ‘special skill’. The only things I ever remember struggling with really badly were of a sporty nature (cheers for that, midget legs) and of course your run of the mill social issues (year five girls can be bloody cruel). In terms of learning and trying new things, I had a pretty cruisy time. I know, I know. Don’t worry, I even annoyed myself with that.

Of course, life outside the classroom demands a whole other set of tools. As I branched out of my safe little school bubble, I discovered new interests and pursued different types of study, jobs, relationships. You know what? Some of them I was good at, as I had gotten used to expecting. And some of them I have failed miserably at, be it through succumbing to my own self-doubt or actually just not being a natural chef/runner/conversationalist/biologist. It’s taken me a long time to get used to, but I’m learning just how good it is to be bad at stuff; to not ‘get it’ first go; to have to persist and chip away at something and maybe not see results for weeks or months or maybe not at all; to enjoy the attempt and the experience rather than the result/grade/tick on a checklist.

I no longer have the flexibility from my 10 years of dancing, but I enjoy the practice of Yoga and the mindfulness it awakes in me. I still cook pasta sauces that taste sweeter than your average dessert toppings and I’m still not great at keeping my room clean or parallel parking or using Microsoft Excel… The things worth remembering, worth holding onto, worth taking inspiration from are the little victories along the way. I can’t always control the outcome of things as much as I’d like, so I just have to go with it. As my soul sister J.K. Rowling once said, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

Tonight I went back and visited my high school’s Open Night. The news that I’m considering becoming a teacher was met with gasps and shrieks from my teachers, along with exclamations of, “Ohhh you’ll be great at that!” and “I’m so happy for you!” -all lovely responses and all justified considering my high school record. How I’m feeling about it, though, is quite different. I might very well become a good teacher, but I’m fully prepared to fail epically plenty of times along the way. That’s okay. That’s normal. That’s healthy. If I’m going to expect my students to persist through their mistakes and learn to love the process of learning, I’d better start practicing what I preach, right?

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