I admit it; I’m a dabbler. It’s another hat I wear, and one I didn’t realize until I wrote my first blog post. As I wrote then, I knew one of the reasons I struggled with the idea of writing a blog was due to the fact bloggers write about one topic, and I couldn’t focus on just one. After I busted my way through that writer’s block, the idea for this post only took me a few hours because I’m passionate about dabbling.
Looking back, I probably frustrated many a teacher when I was growing up. I kept track of my scores in every class. I wanted to figure out which assignment I could choose not to do and still earn As and Bs on my report card. School was important (my parents made that clear), but so were many other things in life: attending the varsity basketball game, reading a good book, playing outside, attending a party or anything else that tempted me more than school work. Usually, it was never just one thing that appealed to me though. As I look back, I only remember a few interests when I would consider myself truly dedicated and passionate about just one activity. Otherwise, I was a dabbler.
The first passion I remember is typing. My parents owned a manual typewriter when I was in elementary school and I remember placing it on the fireplace hearth, a Dr. Seuss book such as One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, next to it, and typing the text over and over. This passion fed into my interest of being a pianist. I begged my parents for, what I remember to be, a year or so. When I finally began my lessons, I was ecstatic and continued those lessons for another seven years. Would I consider my piano playing a passion? For the first few years yes, but once I learned how to play at an intermediate level, I didn’t practice nearly as much. It became one of my passions I would only dabble with.
Another time I truly devoted myself to an activity, began the summer before my freshman year in high school. I decided to try out for the tennis team instead of the girl’s basketball team. I had figured out I’d be, at best, seventh man on the basketball team, so I spent much of that summer playing tennis where I felt I’d be more successful. I was successful enough to make the varsity team my freshman year. I spent three years playing on the varsity team, but then tennis elbow and other circumstances lead me to leave the tennis courts for almost 20 years. Nowadays, I dabble on the tennis courts every summer.
Back in high school, I also became interested in cross-stitching. That passion lasted until my daughters became toddlers and my life became busier with other hats. So, other than these three passions, I can only reflect back on all the dabbling I did. I enjoyed watching and playing all types of sports. I read but only if I got hooked on a “good” book. I held numerous jobs in a variety of occupations; food-service, bartending, animal care, and secretarial jobs all found places on my resume. Maybe “Life is always greener on the other side,” affected my ability to devote a majority of my days to just one activity.
When Todd and I chose to marry, he suggested I return to college and finish my degree in elementary education. There was one problem: I couldn’t decide what subject I wanted to teach, so I decided to be an elementary teacher. In an elementary classroom, I could be a dabbler because elementary teachers teach everything! I still needed to choose a major and minor though. Again, I struggled. Finally, I settled on an English major with a minor in Mathematics. Why? At that time, there was a need for Math teachers, and who doesn’t want a job after graduation, especially if you are a non-traditional (a.k.a. older) student? As for English, at the time I just enjoyed reading and writing and figured I could share my enjoyment. Now, after 20 years, I realize the real reason for choosing this subject area: it affords me the opportunity to continue my dedication to my passion—dabbling—and lets me wear a hat of many colors.