That was probably one of my most oft heard phrase while growing up. Mainly because I was terrible at the piano but I was too afraid to tell my mom I wanted to drop it and so I persevered all the way till grade 8 at the age of 18, when I failed the test 3 times and gave up. Nonetheless, during those about 12 years or so of banging away at the piano, I was always told that practice would make perfect and so I should practice more (and annoy all the neighbours while I was at it).
And that makes sense. It applies to almost everything. There's a Chinese phrase for it too, 熟能生巧. You get better at something the more you work at it. The problem is, most people, me included, don't really like working hard to get the results we want. I very much admire all those talented people, to whom a certain skill just comes naturally. Fair enough, they still practice very hard to get to where they are, but still, if it comes easily to you, you would probably be more willing to work harder at it to become even better, if I make any sense.
Which was probably why climbing appealed so much to me. It was probably the first thing I ever tried that came somewhat naturally to me. I did competitive swimming when I was in kindergarten. Liked it till I got transferred to a more advanced class and had to train way too many times in the week. I eventually got out of it by refusing to wake up in the mornings to go for training, when I was about 9.
Anyway, back to climbing, I love it. I don't know why, maybe just because it's not something that everyone does (unlike say, badminton. Or tennis.), maybe because it exercises your whole body (and not just one half of it), or maybe because it's as much a mental test as it is physical. Eitherways, climbing is something I always enjoyed, though we only did it sporadically while I was in ODAC in RGS. Then towards the end of Sec 4, a few of us (Juan, Si Hui and I) started taking it more seriously, and MR Chew very kindly trained us, during the intervening months between sec sch and JC.
Three times a week or so, I remember. It was horrible too. I didn't like training, but I guess eventually it seemed to have paid off. I would definitely attribute it to having an awesome coach and awesome climbing partners, but I suppose the fact remains that I was *finally* actually good at something!
That was very short-lived though, for studying for A levels soon kicked in in J2, and I stopped climbing for a while. I guess I made the choice halfway through JC that climbing would remain just a hobby for me, definitely not a priority in my life. So even through my gap year, though you would think I would have more time on my hands for climbing, I actually spent a lot of it working and volunteering and doing other biophilia stuff, instead of climbing more regularly.
After coming to Cambridge, I wished I could climb more often (at least once a week!) but needless to say, I barely even climbed once a fortnight, especially last term.
Naturally, my climbing standards dropped like shit, which thoroughly depressed me when I went climbing today. I say climb, but it's really just bouldering (which I don't even like). Sighs, it's very depressing when you know you used to be able to do a route but now you can't.
I guess it also doesn't help that there isn't quite the climbing community here that I was used to and familiar with back in Singapore. Getting to know a community anywhere requires time and effort, both of which are highly limited especially when you're in uni (and busy doing other things on top of studying). So there was hardly any motivation to improve or even just to climb.
It's just so incredibly difficult to balance everything. To be good at studies (I know, I'm presumably doing a lot better than others seeing what uni I'm in, but compared with other people here T.T), good at sports (whatever you choose to do), good at some performing art (be it music or theatre or fine art) and still have a social life and all that stuff. Presumably most people aren't good in everything as well, so there's really nothing I should be "stressed" about. I guess it's just the Singaporean brainwashing of being an "all-rounder", the Rafflesian pressure of scoring in all fields. (Does not help when you do know people who manage to do well in everything)
Still, it's so frustrating to suck at climbing now and know that I'm gonna have to put in a lotttt of effort just to get back. Argh. Perhaps it's all just about time management. If I spend less time reading and sharing articles, if I spend less time blogging, if I spend less time chatting with friends, (if I spend less time eating)......
But I don't think I could ever give up on those. Climbing, much as I love it, clearly no longer scores anywhere near top priority for me now. :( I guess I'll just never be perfect. (To end on an emo note haha)
I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
My interests vary from conservation to education to heritage to Nature (biodiversity & wildlife) to outdoor activities to life in general.
They occupy most of my waking moment.
Do read my blogs, follow me on Twitter (@jocelynesze) and friend me on Facebook (subject to my discretion). Visit my Nature blog, Nature Rambles, at http://natureramble.wordpress.com.
UPDATE 2 Apr 2017 - This site is no longer maintained, please visit jocelynesze.wordpress.com if you're interested in more recent writing.