Why you shouldn’t be afraid of being lonely while pursuing your passions.
When I started dancing a few years back, I just did it in my bedroom.
My wardrobe had a glossy black finish to it that was semi-reflective when clean. I used that as my mirror to check my angles and posture. I even moved my bed to the corner of the room so I’d have more space to practice.
I had no idea what I was doing. I just watched YouTube videos, copied the shit out of them. I’d go over those videos again and again after finishing my assignments or revision, often till 2AM. For a while there, it was fun. It was really fun.
And then I got lonely.
I started to question myself, why was I spending an exorbitant time alone (at that time I’d rather go home early to shut myself in my room than go out with friends) even though I wasn’t getting any better and dancing. I still looked like an awkward flailing stick with awkward arms and even more awkward legs.
And then I attended a dance production done by the university’s dance club. It was almost painful to be there. I loved dance as much as they all did, but everywhere I looked were dancers with their buddies, laughing, being nervous, taking pictures with each other; the usual pre- and post-performance kind of stuff.
Humans are hardwired to desperately seek companionship and to belong in a society, and I was no less different. I wanted to be good. Like, REALLY good. So good in fact people won’t be able to ignore me, and will finally pay attention to me.
I looked for a class. The dance club at the time had no classes going on (I can’t remember why). I had to look elsewhere. A friend recommended an expensive academy, but I was pretty much sure I wouldn’t be able to afford it. So I found a small studio in my neighborhood that teaches hiphop.
It didn’t take long for me to figure out that the instructor was pretty much a phony. He frequently came late for classes, taught just a few counts, and cancelled class so many times.
So I quit and went back to dancing on my own again.
I signed up for a gym near my house, negotiated a good deal because I told the management I just wanted to use the studio, not the weights. They were okay with that, and I pretty much had access to the studio every day. It was just me in an empty room.
Almost every day, after class, before class, I’d be there for hours. Alone. Some of the gym
members asked me, “Don’t you feel lonely doing it alone?”
“I used to,” I’d reply. “Not so much any more.”
Those two years of studio routine helped me develop an appreciation of doing things by myself. In our hyper-connected world, it pays to just be alone once in a while. More importantly, I found actual joy in my working on my passion; there wasn’t a goal anymore, the goal to become good. I just practiced and danced because I really loved every second of it.
Then suddenly, I met a great guy who taught me proper foundation. I didn’t even look for him; he was just there. As if something brought him to me.
I got better and better training under that guy, and it led me to get noticed by other people, who saw potential in me, and take me in and teach me. In those classes I met new people, who then grew to become the closest people I know besides my family.
Basically, I had everything I wanted back when I started dancing, all those years ago.
Your life is definitely not like mine. No one’s lives are similar. They might intersect at a few points like mathematical graphs but that’s about it. Each person has their own set of opportunities, challenges, risks, capabilities.
But what I’m trying to tell you here is that if you are really passionate about something, then don’t be afraid of having to do it alone.
I hear a lot of people saying “Sign up for gym? But I don’t wanna go alone,” or “I want to take up that photography class but no one I know is going, it’s gonna be awkward.” Screw other people. Just do what you want.
I know. It can feel like talking to an empty room. But only once you’re comfortable being alone in that room, will you turn around and suddenly see everyone there as well.
Try to find happiness in the process. I don’t know how it works, but it just does. You’ll have to find out what works for you, yourself. Don’t get too goal-oriented. If you’re just doing it for the goal/objective (ie: losing ten pounds), what happens if you don’t make it? Even if you do make it, what then? Yes you’ll be happier a while; and your happiness will get back down to normal levels after a while.
The more content you are with the process, the longer you’ll stick with it. And it’ll be so worth it.
To all those starting something by themselves, I wish you good luck. Be patient and hang in there. For those who want to start something, but have no idea how, just do it anyway. Your Master will come when you are ready.
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