At a recent family gathering, I did such a good job of selling my 35:35 Challenge, that I now have a companion on the journey. My sister in law has decided to undertake a challenge of her own, to try 40 new things before her 40th birthday (40by40) It’s an ambitious challenge, but one that she’s really enthusiastic about, so I know she’ll get there. It’s made me realise a few things too.
We tend to be labelled, either by ourselves or others, at a pretty young age. Even as an adult, whenever I head back to my parents house, I revert back to being the child I was labelled, the ‘clever’one (I know, all things are relative!) and my brother reverts back to being the child who make remarks about me being a swot, whilst being brilliant at creating and repairing things, something I am terrible at. Once we receive our label, we often don’t challenge it, even if it doesn’t sit comfortably with us. I spent a lot of time with my ‘clever’ label, and feeling as though I couldn’t live up to it, especially since I never found the one thing that I was supposed to be clever at forever. I remember well the day when I realised that it was ok not to be a specialist, that I was a ‘scanner’. A label I will be happy to live with for the rest of my life, because it’s a genuine one. It’s who I am.
I shared this with my sister in law this weekend, and saw in her another person who has become a specialist almost by accident. Happily, she now has a year to try 40 new things to see which ones she might like to continue with on her new life as a scanner. Welcome to the scanner club, Olga!
One of the things I have been promised by my new Challenge companion is an introduction to silver-smithing, which is awesome and leads me to my second point – that of skill-sharing. I’ve been lucky so far in my Challenge in that I have already had a drumming lesson, and alongside the promised silver-smithing is cooking, crochet and cycle maintenance.
I’m fortunate to know so many talented people. The point of skill-sharing though, is that you only need to know a little more than the person you are teaching in order to introduce a subject to someone so they can decide if it’s something they might like to pursue further. It’s something my friends and I will be taking further and I urge you to investigate amongst your own friends. We all have our own talents, skills and abilities and we often don’t recognise them because we already know how to do them, so we don’t give them the credit and value they deserve. It’s time to really look at ourselves, to see what really makes us happy, and to share that with our friends.