Terribly happy to be terrible

Eventually, we realize that we do something not for the recognition or because we’re good at it, but we do something because it makes us happy.

“I can’t regret the things I don’t try” is a lyric I resonate too much with.

If I were to count the amount of times I shyly tucked away a newly discovered hobby inside my pocket, only to come up empty-handed out of the fear of being inept, the list would never end. As a kid, it was natural for me to want to get a taste of anything and everything. I was eager to try multiple hobbies from swimming to hip-hop, and calligraphy to name a few. But more than that, I had the desire to be good at whatever I did. However, this desire was also the same reason I found it difficult to enjoy whatever I do.

I grew up in a goal-oriented environment; driving me to be a goal-oriented person as well. When I was enrolled in Kumon, ballet, and piano—yes, the Asian trifecta—my mind was focused on sublimity. It was acceptable to make a few honest mistakes, but what mattered most to me was that I performed with remarkable quality. I conditioned myself to uphold this standard in everything I attempted to do. I enjoyed being good at things. Who didn’t love being the exemplary star student of a class project after all. 

Even though having an achievement-oriented mindset paid off in some aspects of my life like in school and in competitions, it sprouted an unsuspecting conflict. I was drawn to hobbies because I liked the idea of having affirmations that came with accomplishments. With more talents, I’d become a multifaceted being.

I sought after hobbies like a decorative medal—an award to be displayed. Here’s the thing: achieving is not bad. It’s even admirable to have personal ambitions and to walk on paths of self-improvement. However, my problem was that all my efforts were geared toward success and only success. My will to work was dependent on the outcome of my performance. If I wasn’t good at it, it was better to give it up because “I can’t regret the things I don’t try.”

That’s where I realized I was wrong. Being good at something isn’t the point of doing it.

When I started photography in high school, I never considered myself a photographer. It wasn’t something I particularly flourished in. My images and skills were of average quality when I compared my work to my idols. I was dependent on using auto settings and I barely knew anything when it came to camera specifics and post-processing. Yet, this didn’t faze me; I simply enjoyed the process of taking pictures. Whether it was a school event or a quiet afternoon by the dismissal area, doing photography took me in the moment.

Since then, photography was just one of those things I never stopped doing. From planning a shoot, to editing and looking at my outtakes, the entire process was tedious but rewarding. Spending my nights binge watching videos about photography on Youtube or stalking photographer Instagram accounts, I never imagined my skills would reach the level of quality it has now.

More than that, photography has granted me experiences I wouldn’t get from anywhere else. Photography is the reason I became a part of The LaSallian and granted me the opportunity to cover events like UAAP and meet people who have now become an influential part of my life. The improvement in my work was a byproduct of constant experience and guidance. The thrill of running from one end of the SM Mall of Asia Arena to the other, the laughs from meeting photographers with the same struggles, and the pressure of working to churn out an album in under an hour are feelings that can never be replaced.

An activity I simply enjoyed doing unknowingly became a part of me. It’s difficult to get past that stage of “failure” or that state of comparison that weighs your spirit down but your attempts are not failures. They’re experiments that give you unlimited chances to fill your cup of fulfillment with experience. It shouldn’t matter how bad you are at what you do. Don’t hold yourself back from experiencing things that can make you happy. You don’t have to be good at something to do it after all. No matter how terrible you could be, it will never be a waste to try if it makes you happy. At the end of the day, being happy is what we strive to be.

The LaSallian

By The LaSallian

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