A couple of months ago, I started doing some layout at the newspaper. Often it’s just one page a day, but sometimes it’s as much as 8 pages in a day. I enjoy it – it activates that part of my brain that really loves two-dimensional puzzles.
However…I’m really, really, really, really slooooooooooooow at it. Super, super slow. Sometimes I get frustrated because I don’t see how to make the pieces go together and the other editors in the room seem to make it happen so effortlessly. Plus their pages look SO much more elegant than mine do. And then, the pages go to the evening layout person and she usually adjusts them and I’m left to wonder – what was wrong with what I did? Or – why didn’t I think of that?
I was talking about this with my mom last week – telling her how much I enjoy it, but also how SLOW I am and how frustrating it can be.
Her response was, “Good.”
Heh. Truthfully, you need to know my mom and/or be able to hear her voice to understand all she was saying with that one word, but I’ll do my best to give you my translation.
I have been blessed with a sharp mind and a desire to learn. I’m good at a lot of things. If I encounter something that I’m not good at yet and I decide I want to be, I’m have an absolute single-focus on it and it usually doesn’t take long for me to get good at it.
Or to give up. Let me just tell on myself – often if it looks like I’m not going to get good at something quickly enough I get “bored”. Yes, that’s really just another word for giving up, but don’t try to tell me that in the moment! I would deny it until we’re both blue in the face.
So that “good” from my mom signified a whole lot of understanding and encouragement.
Encouragement to stick with it and not give up on myself.
Because I WANT to get good at this. And I’m willing to put in the time and effort – and frustration and do-overs – to GET good at it.
In a completely counter-intuitive way, it’s good for my ego.
It’s good for me to have to work at something and not walk away from it…but also not yet be good at it.
And those days when I see my pages printed without any changes, I feel SO proud of myself.
That Mama – she may not say a lot, but she sure is smart.