How Being Good At Being Bad Changed My Outlook On New Hobbies
When I moved to Colorado, I witnessed every single stereotype about the state I’d only heard about unfold before my very eyes. Brew-obsessed, mustache-claden bros. The outdoorsy girlies that swear their closet is only filled with Patagonia. People that legitimately run up mountains. Yes, they’re all real. Before relocating, I never would have imagined that I’d become a stereotype. But here I am, learning how to rock climb.
How To Be Good At Being Bad
Climbing entered my life when I gifted my boyfriend a climbing class for Valentine’s Day. He’d wanted to try climbing for months, so I figured I’d encourage him to explore it and ventured out to even try a class for myself, too. Months later, I’m suddenly a regular climber. The intro class definitely taught me a lot to actually get started, but there was one thing I had to discover on my own: how to be good at being bad.
It's Okay to Be Scared of New Things
Growing up, messing up and getting things wrong frustrated me. I’m not talking about your regular huff-and-puff frustration — I’m talking about some seriously world-ending, hyper-critical bouts of defeat and honestly… straight up anger. I was angry that I didn't live up to the flawless standards that everyone else seemed to be. I never wanted to ask questions in school because I was afraid I’d be wrong. I lived in my comfort zone for a long time, just to avoid any negative feelings. Despite the abundance of advice and encouragement I received (thanks mom and dad), my fear of failure was huge.
I tackled that fear bit by bit throughout college. I met challenges I’d never faced alone before, coming with my fair share of failures and flops. As I transformed and uncovered more of my identity, I finally gave myself permission to try new things, like group exercise classes and concert photography. The more comfortable I got with failure, the less consequential it was if I messed up. This was a big win, but the importance of being bad at something didn’t fully click until I started climbing.
How I Actually Learned To Embrace Failure
The very first thing the instructor taught us was how to fall correctly. I’m supposed to reach new heights, but they literally taught us how to fail first. The metaphor writes itself. The second thing we learned was that building strength for climbing takes time. Being an (admittedly very) impatient person that wants perfection on the first go-around, I wasn’t exactly delighted to hear that. Before I even touched the climbing wall, I was in my head. With worries and insecurities racing through my mind, I remembered little Meredith who robbed herself of the joys doing that something new could bring her. So I went for the route. Step by step, and reach by reach, I clumsily made it to the top. It felt like I could do anything!
Since then, I embody that fearless spirit each time I return to the gym. Success on a wall isn’t always guaranteed, but dedicating more energy to my victories rather than my failures (or potential for failure) is something I’m working on – and that’s worth celebrating.Being good at being bad at climbing means knowing that I’m not an expert yet, because I’m still a beginner. It means embracing the fact that failure is a part of the gig. It means my attitude can serve me, instead of tearing me down. It means not taking myself so seriously, because that can take the fun out of it. Being good at being bad means falling while climbing is fun, and second (and third and fourth and fifth) tries are just as valid as the first one.
Facing Your Fears Head-On
From my experience, fear can be isolating and soul-crushing. You’ll never fully conquer your fears, so using them as a catalyst for new experiences is the best thing you can do in this life. You can be good at being bad in all areas of your life – it helps you gain perspective on relationships, work, and new hobbies. Breaking out of your comfort zone is more fulfilling than staying in it, even if you take small steps. Eventually, you’ll reach new heights.
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Image via Meredith Holser.
Creative Assistant, Meredith Holser, is B+C's resident food writer, photographer, and TikTok taker. Meredith writes about a range of topics for B+C, but she's adopted food writing in all its many facets for the last year. You can see her work published in Do214, Advocate Magazine, WFAA, and North Texas Daily. Meredith's passion for photography began after sneaking her mom's iPhone to take pictures of flowers on vacation, eventually evolving from a passion to a professional career. Outside of work, you can catch Meredith hiking, trying new recipes, and dreaming about having a yummy little treat.