On August 18, 2016

The first 30 days

By Kyle Finneron
I can hear my pulse in my ears, my lungs are on fire and I’m completely disoriented. That was how I felt after swimming my first lap at the Pico Sports Center pool. For weeks now I have watched people in the pool from the weight room. Gliding through the water almost effortlessly for what seemed to be hours. It looked peaceful, relaxing and everyone seemed to have this calm about them as they left the gym.
My experience was a little different.
That is an introduction to one of my future columns where I will document my experiences of being a beginner, newbie, freshman, greenhorn, and white belt. The toughest part of any sport, activity or hobby, in my opinion, is the first 30 days. Bumps, bruises, cuts and frustrations are to be expected, but also small victories.
Why humiliate myself through this process? Well, I realized as I grew older that I rarely swayed from my comfort zone. When it came to hobbies or really anything else in life I rarely was trying new things. I noticed that I wasn’t alone. In fact, most people tend to stick to what they know and continue with their handful of hobbies throughout their lives. While this is safe, for me it got pretty boring. So I decided it was time to shake things up and to try new things. But not just new things I liked and was excited about like jiu jitsu and other martial arts, but new things that I dreaded, too, like squatting every day, meditating and swimming. (Crossfit, yoga, mountain biking, and even reading a book a day, also make the short list.)
What I came to realize as I started collecting these new hobbies is that you have to embrace the tough times when you are really terrible at something. Josh Watzkin, an accomplished chess player, martial arts competitor, and author, refers to this as “investing in loss.” Simply put: you have to be bad at something before you can ever be good at it.
I hope my experiences will help others gain the confidence to try something new or at least make someone laugh as they identify with my struggles through the first 30 days.

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