It’s fun to be a beginner again!

I’ve recently written about trying new things as an adult and I thought I’d write just a bit more about how fun it can be. After all the enthusiasm on our Facebook page for trying new things as an adult, I’m feeling a bit evangelical about it all.

I was trying to remember when I first enjoyed being a beginner when it comes to physical activity. I think it first hit me as a grad student. I’m not sure exactly what changed in my attitude towards physical activity but at the start of my PhD I think I realized that philosophy was going to be my thing. Reading, writing, and thinking philosophy was the thing I was good at and it was okay to be not so good at other pursuits. I could go out and be a beginner and learn and it was okay if I didn’t excel.

So in grad school, for me, that was weight lifting and sailing. I took Intro to Sailing and Intro to Weightlifting as academic credits. The only Bs on my PhD transcript! I liked the instructional context and I don’t think I felt any pressure to be top of the class, as much as I enjoyed learning.

Later the joy of being a total beginner hit again when my kids started playing sports. When they started soccer, I thought that looked like fun, and though it never took for any of them as a sport I joined a recreational women’s soccer team in my 40s. Later they all started martial arts lessons and again I got to join in. The dojo made it easy since the adult class was right after the kids’ class and some of the blackbelt older children took turns supervising the little ones. Some days they even did homework. Often they rolled on the mats. But knowing the children were cared for and having fun made it easy to indulge my curiosity about Aikido.

In a bunch of places on the blog and in our book, I describe myself as an “adult onset athlete.” I’ve also embraced my identity as a fitness muppet! I’m here for the enjoyment and the company, for leading an active, outdoorsy life, and I’m not that worried (mostly, there are exceptions) for how good I am at the new things I try.

How about you? Do you enjoy trying new things?

You will never be ready. Just start. Image from Scopio.

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