I've been thinking a lot about expertise lately. I started a two-year graduate program last fall (which certainly contributed to the blog's neglect) in a field which I have no prior experience in. To say I have felt a little out of my depth would be an understatement. At first, everything felt foreign. The vocabulary, the methodologies, the measure of success. It was hard to not defer to my more experienced peers in group work or classroom discussions on matters that I assumed I was unqualified to have informed opinions about, let alone tackle myself. I mean, would you try to talk gelatin with someone who has an instructional YouTube video with over a million hits?
Nope. Not gonna happen.
So, what to do. You can get really down on yourself and wonder what you've been doing with your life - all that time wasted when you could have been perfecting the seven-layer rainbow mold! - or, you can just keep doing your own thing and not worry so much about where everyone else is at.
If you're anything like me, trying something new is both terrifying and exhilarating. But instead of enjoying the thrill of not exactly knowing it all, it can be paralyzing. The perfectionist in me is loud and real pushy and sometimes she keeps me from even starting something because I'm not absolutely certain that it will work out. Or if it will be up to my stratospheric standards.
I've made some pretty ugly jello molds in my time. In fact, last summer I made a simple layered dish for my birthday party but I was out of practice and the first layer melted a bit and it set a little fuzzy and by the way the fridge shelf was uneven so the layers weren't perfect and OH, THE HUMANITY. I was literally reduced to tears (which is just how some of us cope, nothing wrong with that) and didn't even want to serve it to my dear friends and family who could not care less what the damn thing looked like. And you know what? I served it anyway and everyone ate it and loved it and I lived to see another day and to make another jello mold.
And next time I'll do a little better (probably) and have a little more grace (hopefully) and try to just enjoy it a whole lot more because if you don't get some genuine joy out of what you do then what the hell are you doing it for?