Wildly moving my limbs, I try to follow a dance workout routine. I allow myself to admit that I will never be someone who dances at a party nor will I receive compliments for how amazingly beautiful that routine was. I chuckle, as I type this. Do you find yourself thinking back to an activity you picked up, that you would never admit to before a group of people? I hope you find yourself laughing, too.

As a child, I was encouraged to do my best. I tried, I found activities I was good at and others, not so much. I learnt early on that I was motivated to do more of what I was good at and avoided activities where success did not seem like an obvious outcome. I suppose systems push you in that direction, every hobby was soon a potential opportunity to formally upskill or pursue a course. I do enjoy learning opportunities where I engage with mentors and learn from peers in the field. I realised however, I had completely forgotten about the activities that were in the not-so-perfect category.

Embarking on activities that I was not-so-perfect in, allowed me to laugh at myself. And oddly, I have come to cherish that ability. I drew space for myself, there was no intended pressure to monetize or upskill, I could just be and do. Dance, the hope of parenting plants, trying to knit, paint, are pursuits I derive joy from. Kind friends always reassure me that I might get better with practice. Surprisingly, I am okay with these pursuits as is. There is no metric I attach to them, I am not monitoring growth. Joy, minus the validation. Joy, detached from the constant need to be better and do more. Joy has been hard to come by, on days I have to actively work on finding joy and being okay with my not-so-perfect attempts.

I end this piece in acknowledgement that the internet now knows that I will never be one to perform on stage, but you may find me attempting to follow a dance routine. And blissfully, being my child-like self, finding joy in every step.

I hold hope that you are encouraged to find joy minus validation, too. May you find it in the quirkiest activities and may you hold space to pursue it.