10 months ago for day 106, 2019 with 863 words.

Everything worth doing is hard at first

When I was little, I understood little of the world. As I grew up, mysteries started to reveal themselves. Through observation, experimentation, study and endless questioning, I started to walk on the powerful path of knowledge. I learned life-altering ideas, such as how a chicken works, and why there are stars in the night sky, and how stripes really don't suit me. Soon enough, I was faced with the excruciating choice between work and play, and so began my life in the wicked realm of pre-school.

To say that it was I who had the choice, well! That is a stretch. It's mostly our caretakers that make most choices early on; and my parents were not an exception. Akin to Newtons' first law of motion, parents of all kinds desire nothing more than to retain their inertia and to keep making our choices for us.

My calendar was instantly very busy: there was a time for play, and a time for eating, an hour for going to bed and another for waking up; and all of them were somewhat enforced, too! By the time I started my first year of school, things were really getting out of hand: there was a full second schedule imposed by our educator, with classes and breaks, so much so that we had to write everything down. To this, they would soon add school trips and piano lessons and visits to relatives and more classes, and papers, and homework, and oh my word, a time to do homework. At home! During play time! What a travesty!

No wonder that every kid chooses play every time the chance is offered. You have no free time - and I mean really free, time that you can choose to spend however your heart desires. Knowing that, and kids know that from a very young age, the first and sometimes only choice you make is to play. It follows that choices in activities and toys, friends, and outcomes during play are of paramount importance. When was the last time you chose what you wanted to eat? Well! Not in middle-school, that's for sure!

For me, the first definition of "everything worth doing" was play. Anything else wasn't really worth my time, simply because I couldn't choose to do it. Thanks to my dad, play got transformed into work via the magical bunch of little boxes that made up my Home Computer. It's there that I first realized that work can be both hard and rewarding at the same time; it's there that I first learned to choose work instead of play. Funny how that happened - the best use for a HC was, ironically, to play games.

Through little experiments on the computer, work became worth doing and, by that virtue, it became a choice. Later in life, the parental units exercised varying degrees of control over my choices, which in turn made some things worth doing - usually, these were the other things.

By the time I reached high-school, work had become compulsory, and play had been relegated to a second tier.

That right there is a well-crafted joke, which works marvelously in this context because now we're all adults and it's actually freakishly true. A scholarly way to rephrase it would be "it's funny, 'coz it's sad".

During my high-school years, I played Warcraft and Quake as much time as I spent on my fledgling programming skills. Needless to say, neither of these activities were a part of our curriculum. However, by now, I've learned to apply the limited power of my real choices to work, as well as play. And not just any work: I discovered that it had to be hard. I had my first glimpses into things that are "worth doing" and I realized that some of them were hard. Damn hard. And I wanted to do them.

When I went to uni, I found out that everything is hard. Worth doing or not - mostly not - school work is hard. There's an element of choice here as well, but by now I was all caught up with that: if I choose it, I'll follow it, even though it's hard.

The latest addition is in fact the last part, and at first glance the most insignificant. Everything worth doing is hard at first. It takes a lot of grit to reach this point, in any endeavor. The fact is, once you get good at the hard stuff, you find that it's not that hard any more. It takes time and patience, but it all comes together eventually. The last and most powerful trick: it takes a lot of practice in a lot of directions to be able to reach that place consistently. That's why now I stubbornly choose to play Sekiro; why I want to learn jazz; why I need a saxophone (shameless, I know!); why I write here; why I'm learning go; why we chose lindy hop and not some boring wedding crap; why I don't help my wife in the garden even though it's clear that the muscle burn will last.

For practice.

dreamer

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By Vlad Fratila

Enjoys coding and writing / Sort of plays piano / Shouts at the cat for no reason / reads and listens to lots of different things

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