Emily Ellis: Challenge yourself to find joy

A popular sound bite has recently been on repeat in my social media feed that says something to the effect of “you don’t have to be good at your hobbies to enjoy them.”

You hear a lot about perfecting a skill over the endurance of 100 hours and sticking with something until you get it right. That is absolutely an admirable goal, but sometimes mastering a particular task is the wrong target. Sometimes it’s just as important to step outside of your comfort zone to try something new. Different. Unexpected. Something that may break you out of your routine and encourages you to grow and learn in unexpected ways.

In the last year, I’ve taken up podcasting, weaving and dance aerobics. I’m horrible at all three. But I’ve also learned some very important things about myself along the way. I’ve learned that while I have no rhythm, dancing helps clear my head and lowers my anxiety. I’ve learned working with my hands helps me focus and forces me to slow down. And I’ve learned that finding my voice and building an online community of thoughtful, funny human beings is important to me. And while I might not be great at any of those activities, they bring me joy.

This spring the Greenwood Public Library would like you to join us for our “Challenge Yourself” event through the months of March and April, in hopes that you’ll step outside your comfort zone to try something new, too.

The cool thing is that you won’t be doing it on your own. You’ll be a part of a community excited to explore and grow together. All it takes is signing up for a free account on the library’s Beanstack app and checking out the activities in six different areas: Read, Calm, Learn, Parks, Health and Try. Complete any five of the activities in each category to earn a badge. You’ll also earn a really cool pin you can pick up at the second floor Help Desk that you can wear proudly in acknowledgement of your accomplishment.

The Read challenge encourages you to explore something new at the library. Have you read a book set in a different country? Or from a genre you don’t usually read? The Learn challenge helps you navigate some of the amazing services the library offers, such as taking a free class on LinkedIn Learning or attending an awesome program the library is hosting.

Maybe you want to try to earn the Health badge by taking a walk every day for a week or dancing to your favorite music for 15 minutes. If getting some fresh air sounds good to you, challenge yourself to explore the amazing parks in Greenwood. You can go down the slide at Craig Park or play a round of bocce ball at Old City Park.

The Try badge will encourage you to get hands-on with some of the unique resources the library has available, including kits in our maker space, The Studio, and our large collection of board games available for checkout.

And finally the Calm badge will challenge you to clean, organize, meditate and find your own calm by donating items to a local charity or writing a letter to a friend or family member.

There’s something for everyone. Try to earn just one badge, or challenge yourself to earn them all. We hope that you’ll learn and grow alongside us this spring, and hopefully find some joy along the way. For more information about the event, please visit our website at www.greenwoodlibrary.us.