Friday 28 October 2016

Dabbling in the art of avoidance results in a reprimand from the stars

Gemma Fullam

Published 16/11/2015 | 02:30

Sel-confessed dilettante: Gemma Fullam
Sel-confessed dilettante: Gemma Fullam

Dilettante. If I had to use a word to sum myself up, that would be it. Although 'procrastinator' would come a very close second. I've always felt that the dabbler aspect of my nature comes, in part, from being - don't laugh - a Gemini: the mercurial sign of the twins has placed me firmly in the 'Jack of all trades, master of none' category.

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Philippe Petit, the man famous for stringing and then walking on a high wire between the newly-built twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974, said, when asked why he risked life, limb and arrest to complete his stunt: "If I see three oranges, I have to juggle. If I see two towers, I have to walk."

I've always envied people who possess that calibre of determined compulsion. Sticking with something, seeing it through, has always presented a challenge to my innate flighty fickleness, but I have, on occasion, stepped up to the plate.

I got my first bicycle at the age of eight, and unlike 99.9pc of the population, wasn't able to learn the necessary skills in an afternoon. I spent a solid year hopping up on my little blue Raleigh, only to fall off each and every time - until, one day, the magic happened and I stayed on and kept going.

Learning to drive took even longer and involved considerably more tears. Countless lessons and three tests later, I was the proud owner of a pink piece of paper.

So I know I can do it; I can persevere and get to the finish line. But, truth be told, tenacity goes against the Gemini grain. Which is all a roundabout way of confessing that, in the last week, I made risotto for the first time (a triumph, incidentally). I sewed on missing buttons. I re-potted some plants. I watched countless YouTube videos of enthusiastic individuals performing Buddha bounces and lemur leaps on their slacklines, but mine remained in the boot of my car, where I left it last week, coiled like a yellow snake, waiting to strike with scorn every time I stashed some shopping. "Hey! You there! Get back up on me. What are you afraid of?"

And therein, perhaps, lies the crux. In 'doing' there lurks the potential for failure. Not doing is easier. Staying the same is easier.

My horoscope for the week contained an ominous portent: "Proceed as before and you'll soon face genuinely serious problems."

Oh dear. Even the stars have me sussed.

I need to get back up on the horse. Today.

TIP: As the famous slogan goes: just do it. Time to take my own advice, I think.

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