…in their own not that expert-y way
This post is based on a NaBloPoMo prompt: Everyone is an expert in something. Tell us 3 things you’re an expert in.
What I am NOT an expert in
This first prompt took much soul-searching. My first instinct was to answer “English” or “translation”, as I have achieved a near-native command of the former and have a career in the latter, but I don’t consider myself an expert in either. There is still a lot I don’t know about English and I don’t have enough translation experience to present myself that way. I don’t doubt myself and my skills, but I wouldn’t want to present myself as something I am not by using such a strong word.
More importantly, I am not comfortable with what this word implies. To call myself an expert in a given language, would I have to know every word, speak every variety of the language, master every accent? Should I also be an expert in etymology? in history? Maybe I should be more specific. What if I defined myself as an expert in English phonology? Would I be called a fraud if I didn’t manage to keep up with every phonological change happening in the world?
By now you should understand what my problem is. Somehow I feel like calling myself an expert in a field I actually want to become an expert in would put too much pressure on myself. And not the kind of pressure I thrive under. So I find it liberating to admit that I’m not an expert in those fields – without closing the door on the possibility of ever becoming one.
Three things I am an expert in
So I guess I should look elsewhere. There has to be something; not something amazing, nor something particularly useful, nor something I have reasons to be proud of, but something I know or do extremely well. Three things, preferably. So what are they?
1. I am an expert at making excuses, whether or not they are needed. Whenever I am running late for an event, don’t want to go somewhere or do something, I panic and come up with an excuse, just in case someone asks me for it. It may be more or less detailed, depending on how much time I have, but there will be one. However, since I hate lying and think of myself as a terrible liar anyway, I almost never use the excuse I came up with.
2. I am an expert at spreading chocolate-and-nuts spread on white bread. It probably sounds lame but it is based upon real facts. I remember a time, maybe 8 years ago, when a former friend of mine saw me do so and said I was very good at it. I think she added that, were there ever a spreading contest, I would win it, but maybe that is just my terrible memory making it up.
3. I am an expert word counter. I have made a habit of counting words when reading anything in German. With online material, of course, this can be done easily, but with books, you have to count “manually” and it can be a huge waste of time. Fortunately, I have been doing it for months and developed a technique that I, at least, find efficient. It still puzzles my friends to learn that I am counting words, but my weekly word counts give me a sense of progress.
Three things I wish I were an expert in
1. I wish I were an expert in translation. Obviously, I aspire to be the best that I can at my job – not to be better than anyone else (that would be a hopeless pursuit and a sad thing to aspire to), but to learn and improve as much as I can. I know I have dozens of years ahead of me to make this dream come true, but let’s be honest: fulfilling it right now would boost my confidence when seeking clients and increase my productivity when taking on translation assignments.
2. I wish I were an expert in cooking and nutrition. It can be so hard to come up with ideas for dishes that are both tasty and good for your health, without having to rely on cookbooks or online recipe repositories. It is even harder when you have to cook for people with contradictory needs – for instance, one who is trying to take on weight and another who wants to lose some. Expert knowledge in these areas would definitely come in handy.
3. I wish I were an expert in drawing. I don’t mean that I would like to draw masterpieces, but it would be nice to be able to draw something that actually looks like what I intended for once. As a child, I used to draw clothes, then later anime characters, and let’s just say my drawing weren’t great. On the bright side, I never took a drawing class, so doing so now would certainly stack the odds in my favour if I ever tried to go back to drawing.
Clearly, my dreams are far too ambitious compared to the three talents I managed to find in myself. For now, I will go back to reading in German; I may never reach the level of an expert in this language, but at least I will have a nice number at the end of the week as proof of my efforts to become one.
Featured image: The World Has No Experts by Chris Pirillo on Flickr, resized and cropped by me.