A Reason to Continue
I'm not the best at what I do, but that's okay.
For years I've searched for the thing that I'd be great at. I'm sure millions have done the same and come to similar results. It's been ingrained in me through media, society, teachers, and parents that we all have a purpose. I suppose... But what is that purpose? I've never had any aspirations to become a professional anything. So I'm not exactly shocked at where I am in life.
Throughout my so-called career I've basically coasted from job to job not knowing what I wanted to do. However while I was in university I did discover b-boying/breakdancing. It was discovered somewhat late in comparison to others. There I was in my mid 20s with no athletic background trying to learn moves like I was a teenager. I continued on casually for years. It wasn't until I got close to 30 when I realized, "Hey, your body isn't going to be able to do this forever." So I thought maybe I should take it a little more seriously. I had a good "dance crew" that supported me and was eager to compete.
At each dance competition we went to we did better and better, but we only went up to maybe the first or second round of the tournaments. Years passed by and the crew members found new lives. I ended up as the lone member continuing with the dance. It was tough but I kept going. Over the next few years I'd see faces come and go.
These transition years made me question why I was still doing it. There was no way I was going to win these competitions (in the back of my mind I refused to believe this). Each passing year there was new talent with crazier skills than the last generation. Why keep going? My crews had left and the local scene seemed to be disappearing. I had to reflect.
Recently I started playing a video game called Street Fighter V. It has a community very similar to the one I remember when I first started breaking. I've been playing Street Fighter for years, but always casually. This group reminds me so much of how it felt when I first started breaking. I felt like I was in familiar territory. The group helped me learn the ropes and practice to get better.
I know... Juggling two time-committing hobbies... I practice the two after, but time management with the job and social life, etc. are a tough act. There's never enough time for anything nowadays.
Recently I went to my first Street Fighter tournament. I lost all my sets and came in dead last. I came to a realization. I'm not great at what I do, but that's okay. I've never been great at breaking, at least dance well enough to win at anything. My skills at Street Fighter aren't the best. I'm not the smartest person at the workplace. Why do I still have the will to keep going? Why don't I quit? Well... I'm still having fun and learning as I go. I'm also constantly making new acquaintances and challenging myself.
I look back at some of the faces that have come and gone in my breaking life, and I also realized that maybe this is a frustration a ton of people have. Not being great at something is part of the fun, but a lot of people don't realize this. Failure in society has so many negative connotations. I remember playing certain video games and restarting because I didn't have a perfect score or screwed something up. It's a shame. We really need to worry less about being great and just observe sometimes. Things are better than we think.