Five hundred pesos.
Back in my room in our house in the province, there is a set of handcrafting tools for resin-making collecting dust on my table. It cost me half a thousand pesos to buy it online, and I only ended up making three coasters before I decided to pack it safely and bring it home the last time I visited my family.
A hundred unopened emails from a language learning application.
Four years ago, I decided I would teach myself a new language. German was interesting, right? But then I got too caught up in my studies that I eventually stopped the daily lessons. If you ask me now, maybe all I can say is a poorly pronounced “Ich bin schön” (I am beautiful).
These are just two of the things that I started but eventually abandoned midway. As I write this, I remember my mother telling me that I am only good at starting things but never at finishing them. At the time, the words hurt me, but after some time and a couple of failed hobbies later, I acknowledge that her words hold some truth.
I’ve been beating myself up over this bad habit. I have tried a lot of things, but I always end up giving up on them. My mother bought me keyboards when I was 12, but if you ask me to play a song now, I can present to you only the chorus to David Pomeranz’s “King and Queen of Hearts.” At the beginning of eighth grade, I was enrolled for table tennis training, but if we play a match now, you will only get a headache over how bad my serves are. About two years ago, I installed this writing application on my laptop and began drafting a novel, but after months, all I had were the character boards and two paragraphs of the first chapter, until I never opened the app again.
Keyboards, ping pong, language lessons, resin-making, writing a novel, and a bunch of other activities. So many hobbies I tried out. So many things I gave up on. So many regrets that are haunting me.
There are times when I wonder, what would I be like right now if only I stayed committed to things I tried to do before? Would things be different? Would I be any different? These thoughts would lead to restlessness that always drained the energy out of me.
Until I saw this one social media post. I had been following a small publishing company, and while mindlessly scrolling through social media, I saw its post about a newly self-published local writer it was able to help. A flash of emotions ran through me: excitement, envy, and sadness. I was excited for a fellow aspiring writer who is now able to call himself/herself an author; I was envious of how one has finally achieved the thing I was only dreaming about; and, lastly, I was sad, remembering I had characters and a plot that I had abandoned.
But this little flame that I kept imagining was residing in my heart whispered: What are you so sad about? You still have time.
And that’s when I realized that I was being a fool. A fool for thinking it was already too late. A fool for thinking there were no second chances. A fool
for believing the journey is over. A fool, because I am not even halfway through 50 years old!
There is still time. I can still try to make resin crafts. I can still revisit my manuscript. They say if you learned something, it stays with you, so perhaps a little review could get me back on track with my German lessons, right?
We are still young. We still have many years ahead of us. And these hobbies, they do not hold grudges. I’m sure they would welcome us back with open arms if they could.
Perhaps I am just being too hard on myself.
Perhaps one of the reasons I stopped with the endeavors I tried out is because I felt I was not doing a good job, that there were people doing such activities way better than me. So what’s the point of doing something if you’re not good at it? Better to just stop, right?
Foolish, foolish me.
We do things not to become extremely good at them. We do things because we enjoy doing them. Sometimes, mediocre is okay. Who cares if you’re only so-so? As long as you enjoy the process, the result does not have to be perfect.
A reminder to myself and to everyone: It is okay to not be good in everything we do. So pick up that guitar again. Move your body to the music once more. Mix colors in a palette today. Give yourself another chance. Reconnect with the things that sparked your interest before and listen as they whisper to you, “Welcome back.”