What if...

Scattered throughout my 26 years are some things that I did because no one ever told me they were hard. Most of them involve food. For example, one night while I was in 9th grade, I decided that I needed to make a pie that very evening. I whipped out the Joy of Cooking, found a recipe for pie crust and then pie, and made both. Later my mom said, "Wow, you made the crust? Pie crust is hard!" I looked at my pie and shrugged. I didn't know it was supposed to be hard, and therefore it wasn't. Months later - the next time I decided to make a pie - my pie crust was a struggle because I knew it was "hard" and I didn't trust myself to be able to replicate what I'd done the fist time.

Angel food cake is the other one that comes to mind. Supposedly, it's one of the more difficult things to bake. Yes, it does require that I follow the instructions so that I can consistently get it to turn out the same way every time, but when I made it the first time, the "hard" label didn't pop up until after it had disappeared after a group dinner.

Angel food cake: the only baked good that I can think of that takes a full dozen eggs.

Angel food cake: the only baked good that I can think of that takes a full dozen eggs.

Last example - and no food involved! Oboe. I picked it up in 6th grade at my dad's suggestion. I wanted to play flute or clarinet, but my dad said, "What about oboe?" I didn't know what it was, but we loaded up the good ol' World Book Encyclopedia on our household computer and watched the little video demo that was on there, and I was sold. It was only years later that people started saying, "Oboe...that's, like, a really hard instrument, right?" 

I never knew how to respond, because I had no context in which it might be a hard thing. It was just the way it was, and I either rose to the occasion or didn't, and whether it was hard or not had nothing to do with it. 

I obviously don't want to go too far and put a blanket statement out there (i.e. always trust yourself, things are only hard if you make them hard, etc.) because there are things that really are hard in life. Like calculus, for example. That is one thing I will never be able to just do. But it does make me stop and think about how many things people stop themselves from doing because they assume they don't have the skills to do it or because they're afraid of failure. What if we could just somehow take that away? 

One thing that IS hard? Staying awake when you kept yourself up too late the night before. That is no good. Don't do it to yourself. Pick other hard things, ok?