Photo: Miguel Henriques
“You look like an idiot.”
That was the first time I’d tried public speaking as an adult (well, I was barely an adult at eighteen), and a member of the audience told me that straight to my face. Harsh? Maybe. But maybe you’d think the same after I give you some context.
Photo: Joseph Frank
Do you ever look in the mirror and think you could stand to lose a few pounds? Or do you feel like a lazy sack of lard when you wake up a couple of minutes before lunch?
We all have shortcomings that trigger our negative feelings, and these moments of pain can be useful tools for improvement, yet the world’s managed to frame it as an enemy, as something to be avoided.
Photo: Museums Victoria
Let me take you back to when I was eight, where for some reason, my schoolteacher decided that a bunch of Primary Two students needed to learn about the meaning of time.
“It’ll pass by in the blink of an eye,” she said. “Oh stop laughing! You don’t believe me? One day you’ll see.”
Photo: Alexander Andrews
There are so many hobbies you can get good at in this world, with some of these things being outright outlandish.
Like, who even sets out to become the best ventriloquist in the world? How about dedicating your life to rock climbing? Even becoming a gaming superstar is a thing now.
No matter what niche you look at, there’ll be people who’ve already reached the pinnacle of their craft. People like Jeff Dunham, Alex Honnold, and Lee Sang-hyeok, to name a few.
The thing is though, is that before you become a Jane Austen, or a Tony Hawk, you’ll inevitably face resistance from the people around you. People who cannot comprehend your goals as well as you do.
Photo: Jules A
I remember my time as a new journalist for a business paper. I remember the events I had to attend, the free lunches I received, the special access that I was afforded.
I remember mingling with the other reporters, giving them a knowing nod as they typed away at their bulky laptops (workplace desktops were still a thing back then).
“Tight deadline, huh?” I’d ask.
I had it easy. My company went to print every week. These guys? They worked for the dailies. “You going to send this in by today?”
“No, by lunch,” my new friend would reply.