Beginning, Starting, Learning, Etc. Part 2

June 12th, 2016

Quite honestly, my last post went in a direction I didn’t want it to go towards. However, this post is lighter and shorter and renders my title in a different but refreshing context.

I think it was pretty clear that (most of the time) the inexperience, naivety, and clumsiness that comes along with being a beginner isn’t really what scares me. In fact, (most of the time) I’m comforted to be a beginner. In some respects, it’s an explanation. My poetry tbh is terrible?? I’m a beginner! My Italian makes even non-native speakers cringe?? I’m a beginner!

I don’t mean that learning something new should be an excuse. In fact, it should be a delightful possibility. The state of a novice is exciting, and I would go so far as to say that it is sacred. We are figuring out how to move in a particular discipline for the first time ever. We are learning without the biases or entrenched routines of a master. In short, to me, being a beginner means having my eyes, ears, heart, and soul open to new knowledge and new possibilities and new potential. Exhilarating!

The most interesting thing I have found myself in a beginner in is also the most unexpected. Just a couple days ago I was sitting in my apartment in Rome wallowing in my own frustration. I was disappointed in myself. When reading blogs or articles of others recounting their travels, the authors all seemed to have amazing experiences, effortlessly getting involved in the community of the place they are staying, and casually making friends with the locals. Then there was me. Sticking out on the street like the dorky American tourist cliche I dread. Stumbling over the simplest of Italian phrases. Being ridiculously intimidated to speak to anyone my age in this unfamiliar country. Not exactly the suave, savvy, confident traveler I usually (think I) am.

But then suddenly it hit me: I am a beginner. A mere kid from Alabama with basically no experience in traveling not only by myself, but in a country were I lack any background whatsoever in the local language. This wasn’t supposed to be easy. This isn’t easy. This isn’t going to be easy.

But this is okay.

Despite a lack of ~easiness~, and despite the inevitable frustration, loneliness and confusion I will endure, I am over-the-moon excited. I get to spend my entire summer learning, growing, and being a beginner in a role I love. Starting something new may not be constant fun, but I’m pretty darn sure it will be ridiculously rewarding.

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