I’ve been looking for a relaxing hobby – something to get me away from my computer, so when I saw an ad online for a week-long class in Akumal, Mexico, in January, I leapt at the chance.

Although going on a trip for a week with a group of strangers gave me a few moments’ pause during the month leading up to our departure, I was excited about it, too. And when I stepped into Michael’s to buy the art supplies for the trip, I felt like a kid in a candy store.

I hadn’t painted anything but bedrooms since I was a young child. And while I got kudos for writing in school, no one had ever complimented my painting. A friend of mine in his early 60s has rediscovered painting, too. Over coffee and cookies recently, he said, “My parents always told us (our family) doesn’t draw, and (our family) doesn’t sing.” The implicit message, he explained, was that “we weren’t creative and we didn’t waste our time on such frivolous stuff.”

While I have wonderful parents who have given me extraordinary encouragement to accomplish whatever I put my mind to, I received similar implicit messages. And it’s not surprising. My grandparents survived the Depression due to their penchant for hard work. Therefore, being task-oriented came naturally in our household.

Imagine my surprise when I found that I actually enjoyed creating pictures during my water-coloring adventure. I looked forward to it and found that I could sit for hours working on a single picture at a time. My drawing wasn’t as terrible as I had feared, and I was getting the hang of mixing colors. I learned to put my perfectionism aside and focus on getting a little bit better all the time. 

Children have the thrill of trying something new each day. And if we’re lucky enough to have children in our lives, we get to experience their joy while teaching and encouraging them. The French use the term “joy de vivre” to describe the joy of living. Part of that joy comes from discovering new activities.

Since taking the class in January, I’ve painted almost every day. What have you always wanted to do? Can you overcome what’s stopping you?

This blog was originally posted on SheTaxi in 2012.

About the Author:

Lynn Nelson has over 20 years of experience in public relations, public affairs and communications. She’s owned her own consulting firm, LINPR, for over 15 years and maintains a balanced life of wife, mother and working professional.


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