Learning a new skill or finding a new hobby is usually a process that people enjoy and find relaxing. Well, not me.
I have a tendency to develop a strong passion for something, but rather than enjoying the process I become incredibly stressed out until I know I'm doing everything correctly. It's especially bad when I feel like I’m not picking up the new skill as quickly as I’d like.
In some cases, the stress quickly passes, like when I convinced myself I had to learn how to make French macaroons from scratch. That was an instance where I had enough previous baking skills that I learned how to make the macaroons really quickly, which minimized the amount of stress I experienced.
Then there are other projects that I got so frustrated with, like sewing, that I simply gave up on because I felt like I wasn’t improving as much as I'd like. I know it makes me sound a bit crazy, but I think it boils down to me just being really hard on myself.
That leads me to my current predicament. I'm currently hooked on the idea that I want pet fish. And in my nature of wanting to do everything the best I can, it's led me down a hole of figuring out the best fish for me to keep and how to care for them so they're the happiest they can be.
You would think it’s pretty simple, right? Wrong. You can’t just stick any fish in any tank and expect it to live a happy and healthy life. There are hundreds of different fish you can keep, and each one has certain living conditions it prefers based on where the type of fish originally came from.
For example, I'm looking at keeping a tank of tropical freshwater fish, so I have to get a tank heater to make sure the water is warm like the tropical waters they come from.
You also have to consider how much space the fish needs and whether or not it’s a social fish that needs to be kept in a group. You can’t take a large fish like an Oscar and put it in a five-gallon tank because that’s way too small. You also can’t take a schooling fish like a Tetra and put it in a tank by itself because it’s the happiest in large groups. Then, you have to look at all the other species' specifications like their preferred diet, water PH level, and more.
It seems like I know what I’m talking about and that I’d be just fine at caring for whatever fish I get, but that doesn’t stop me from stressing out about it. Especially because I’m dealing with something that’s alive. I want to give whatever fish I get the best life possible because they deserve to be happy and I’d be devastated if they got sick or died due to something I did wrong.
While this is causing a lot of stress at the moment, I know once I get going and see that I'm doing well and my fish are happy, the stress will go away. It’s just a matter of pushing through that initial tension, starting the process, learning from any mistakes I might make and understanding that it’s impossible to be perfect. Then I'll enjoy the process and be happy seeing my fish thrive in an environment I put so much effort into.