As kids, our parents always encouraged us to be active and try new things. They really had no money to speak of, but they always found a way to pay for 5 kids and all our extra curricular activities, lessons, uniforms, you name it. They never let the money factor be an excuse.
My sister excelled in softball, from the age of 5 all the way through her college years. My brother got a dremel tool kit as a teenager and now, he’s a talented wood craftsman, all self-taught. I was the oldest child, so surely I set the example for hard work and dedication – really sticking with things. Paving the way for my 4 younger siblings who looked up to me so much.
Except that I quit everything I tried, usually within a few weeks of starting. Rarely even made it to picture day. Darnit.
It began with youth choir. I vaguely remember feeling inadequate because of a red-headed girl who got a lot of solos. I didn’t want to continue singing, but my mom promised me a new Barbie if I would stick with it a little longer. So I did. Just a little longer.
I vividly remember when I wanted to quit piano lessons too. I just hated practicing so much! My mom bribed me with a second ear piercing if I would keep the lessons going. So I did that too, but I don’t remember how much longer the lessons lasted. Of course, as an adult, I wish I still played.
When I quit bobby sox softball, there was nothing that would get me back on the field. During one of the games early in the season, I missed a fly ball and my coach (god forbid) yelled at me. That was the day I decided to never return. Even my dad reminding me how cute I looked in my uniform would not sway my decision.
Cheerleading ended after 8th grade. I don’t even remember why. It just so wasn’t my vibe anymore, guys.
You see the pattern.
Freshman year of high school, I had a couple friends and super-cool older cousins who played volleyball. I’m sure my parents were thrilled when I told them I wanted to play. Oh yay, another couple hundred dollars down the drain. And sure enough, after the 1st week of conditioning, I was done. Before we had even made it through try-outs, I was throwing in the towel. As usual, my parents requested I keep trying and I’m sure I gave a very teenage performance of why I couldn’t. And I’m sure the excuses I gave were just covering up my self-doubt.
On my self-proclaimed last day of volleyball, mom dropped me off at practice in our huge brown family van and before I got out of the car, she pulled over and said very firmly, “Jaana. You always quit. You need to stick with something so you have a chance of getting better at it. I think this will be good for you. At least finish try-outs. Then if you make it, you can decide if you want to stay on the team or not.”
I probably rolled my eyes, but I did finish try outs. And much to everyone’s surprise (especially my own) I made the varsity team. Never mind that we were terrible. Like totally the worst. Or maybe second to worst. But… I. Made. The. Team. I played for 2 years and had some of the best times – riding the bus to away games, gossiping with my girl friends. And learning how to serve overhand. Oh yeah. I can still do that.
Despite my mom’s excellent pep talk and the life lessons that should have been learned from this experience; save for a few choice activities, I still ended up being kind of a quitter in life. Many jobs and hobbies thrown to the way side. I guess some things you can’t change.
But I can say I’ve pretty much tried it all?