So I’ve put my fencing lessons on hold, in an attempt to let whatever’s been going on with my achilles tendon heal for real, and am biking and taking yoga classes instead. (My heels seem to especially like yoga.) Though it’s hard to know if I would have switched gears eventually anyway–I’m something of a serial hobbyist, and two years seems about a typical hobby span for me, with a few exceptions. (Writing, which became not-a-hobby. Scouting, which also isn’t exactly a hobby, and which I spent 8 years at and may yet go back to one day.)
Anyway, every new-thing-to-learn I’ve taken on has taught me something slightly different about life and learning processes and, of course, writing. What I’ve gotten from yoga, both now and when I’ve done it in the past, is this:
It’s not about anyone else. It’s about you, and where you’re at, and about pushing the edge of the where-you’re-at.
Yoga is very explicitly not a competitive activity. In some ways it’s the exact opposite of fencing that way. In yoga, for any given pose, you’ll probably find there’s a point to which you can push the pose. And there’s a temptation, for me at least, to look around the room, see how everyone else is doing with the pose. This is something I do my best to resist, though.
Because it’s not about anyone else, as any instructor I’ve ever taken a class with has said, one way or another. It’s about seeing where you are, being good with (and non-judgmental about) that, and then seeing whether maybe, from that place, you might want to push yourself a little farther. Or not–there are days that aren’t pushing sort of days, too, where just doing what you’re doing is enough.
Anyway, I think I’m happiest as a writer when I remember this, too: that it’s not about what anyone else’s craft or career. It’s about my words, and where they’re at now, and where I want to take them from there.