Can We Keep Learning?

© Victoria Bilsborough

Once upon a time I bought a dotted journal, and that has made all the difference.

I know it sounds exaggerated, however more than the journal, it was my willingness to try and track different things that I wanted to improve. After reading ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear, which I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to build on old or new habits, and my introduction to ‘The Bullet Journal Method‘ by Ryder Carroll gave me the perfect combination to start afresh. Mind you, I was trying to track things that I already had some experience in but failed to stick persistently. For example – jogging, completing my Spanish lessons (need to catch up on that) and meditation. I did them sometimes and ignored many other times. But keeping a habit tracker has made me conscious about how frequently I successfully practice my suggested activities. Somehow you realize that whatever you put your time and effort in to is what will bear the fruits of your labor. So it is wise to try and experiment with new things that you would like to learn and be prepared to make mistakes along the way.

I started my bookstagram account recently (@eternallybonkers) and was already feeling intimidated by bookstagram posts that bookstagrammers around the world have created so gorgeously as a community. The question then becomes – what am I doing differently? Should I even create an account? But I don’t know how to create those beautiful flat lays that looks so pretty! P.S – I did make an account and have four posts till date. The fear is out of the way, thankfully.

But what about picking up a new hobby altogether out of curiosity? For me, I want to try my hand at gouache painting and illustrate daily objects, plants, flowers, etc. to make my bullet journal more beautiful. And I went online to add paintbrushes and gouache paints on my shopping cart and that is when I stopped. Not once, but maybe thrice by now.

Below are the questions that have stopped me from clicking the Buy button:

A) Am I buying this because I am only fascinated by illustrations?
B) Will this activity hold my attention for long?
B) Can I even learn painting?
C) What if my illustrations turn out bad and not like the ones I saw on YouTube tutorials and Skillshare videos?
D) Does thinking of painting make me happy? Will I even have time to carry on with my creative pursuit?

Even before I buy the tools, invest my time in learning and make mistakes and correct them along the way, I am already judging myself.

How many of you have enjoyed a hobby or a skill and felt that life along the way made its own plans and you lost what you enjoyed doing or wanted to do ages ago? Fun fact – it’s not too late.

Indeed, we can’t learn everything at once, but we can learn different things at different moments. Most of the time it is our fear of failure and rationalization that holds us back—like my example of trying to learn drawing gouache illustrations. But do I want to buy the brushes and paints to smudge them in my bullet journal? A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y! Even though thinking beyond the present is good for many matters, like in case of financial decisions; when it comes to writing, learning and creativity, embrace what feels right to you and have an open mind to be silly and make errors. So here is my new challenge—can I learn illustrating simple daily objects in the next few months? Thou shalt see. And if you need permission to try your hand in an activity that has sparked your interest—here is quoting Nike’s trademark slogan, Just Do It.

P.S. If you have any suggestions for starting with gouache illustrations and art, please let me know in the comments section below and I would be very grateful.

Thank you so much for reading this post. Cheers!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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A closet writer with a knack for adding vivid, witty & personal details. I love coffee, books and food. Highly appreciate lo-fi music and illustrations. Borderline obsessed with stationery, productivity and organisation tools. Always in search of adventures & stories by travelling or being buried in books. Current Status ↠ Growing plants in my room. Life Goals ↠ Spark conversations, ideas & inspiration with a cup of mild roasted black coffee.

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