I’m learning how to see the beauty in something not quite perfect. When I do something – anything – I have to do it perfectly. There is no room for error with me, it has to be right or it’s not worth doing.
But do you know how much time that takes up? A shitting lot, that’s how much. Which means that I am always feeling like I’m behind on what else I need to be doing and I never see the end of my to-do list.
A few things recently have shown me that this is something I need to work on, learn how to move on quicker and be okay when a project is not ‘perfect’ – especially as nothing ever works out perfectly in the end anyway and I could have finished the thing much earlier.
One of the things that made me realise this was at work when I missed a deadline I had set myself to complete a ‘winter guide’. The wording had to be exact. The layout had to be just right. There had to be a good flow to it. But it was never right in my eyes. A change here, a tweak there, another change here and another tweak there, soon built up to me waving goodbye to the November deadline and finally in December having to just say ‘enough is enough – the guide is going out – I’m done!’
My manager has even made one of my objectives to be ‘worry less about perfection of work to ensure release in timely manner’. Let me stress, this is an encouraging way – not a telling me off kind of way, she’s happy with my work.
One of the other things that made me see the error in my ways, was when my family came over to celebrate my little sister’s engagement. I went into crazy hostess with the mostess mode and had given myself the task of making sure I was catering for everyone – meaning that everything had to be 1. delicious, 2. gluten/wheat/msg/dairy etc etc free, and 3. there had to be enough for a feast.
I planned, slaved, perfected, sweated, stressed and burnt myself out over my feast ideas – only to get me…not very far. I worked evenings in my kitchen from the time I got home from work until 11-12 at night, preparing, cooking and freezing recipes ready for the big day. Yet, I got hardly anywhere with my list of what I had wanted to do and time was running out. That is when Dan stepped in and said I wasn’t to make any more. We would get a take-away instead.
The relief that came over me, was sensational. But when I see the perfection that is Pinterest and Instagram, it makes me want to be the perfect housewife, sister, daughter and friend where ‘I can do all this shit myself – look how easy I make it look.’ Truth is, I don’t. Truth is, most of the time, I can’t.
Dan pointed out ‘why do you think we always have take-aways whenever we go over someone else’s house? Because no one has time to cook, especially not for a lot of people.’
So I served the things I had already made as appetisers…before we ordered lots of pizza.
The last thing that has made me have a change of heart recently has been decorating my bedroom. When it’s completed I’ll put up some photos (the wallpaper was put up this morning, the blind was fitted at lunch and the carpet is going down any time now – once the fitters arrive. It’s been all go here today). But…the amount of imperfections in that room…my god. Firstly there was dado rail that needed to be removed, about twenty years worth of old wallpaper and paint that had to come off, and what was underneath all that was scary.
We were going to get it plastered, but well, that takes money, so we filled in the worst of the holes and made it as smooth as we could. This all happened over a number of weeks, what with only having evenings and weekends to get the work done in (and I actually did most of it myself as Dan was snowed under with freelance work, so that made it take much longer too).
By the time we came to paint, there seemed to be just as many holes as when we first started. And the paint only seemed to make them stand out more.
Did it bother me? At first yes. I wanted to give in and pay to get it plastered and have someone else re-do it all. But then it hit me, what is the point of that?
Once the furniture is back in and we’re getting on with our everyday lives – the lumps and bumps in the walls, the dodgy edging around the room, the paint on the window frames – none of it will matter.
So I’ve moved on with my life and have found a bit of time to make my own.
With that time (today between the various fitters), I have been crafting away to make some games for Boxing Day when I see my family – these are all small-child friendly games so they wouldn’t exactly be well received at my in-laws on Christmas Day. But again, I’m not being overly precious or perfectionist about them. Yes I may have sat and coloured a piece of paper orange because I didn’t have any orange paper to make a snowman’s nose out of, but that is better than me traipsing the shops until I find the perfect shade of orange paper because I wouldn’t want the strokes from the pen to be visible – if i coloured a bit of paper myself. This is me growing.
- I will no longer chop vegetables so they are perfectly symmetrical.
- I will no longer say ‘yes’ to absolutely everything when I really want/should to say ‘no’.
- I will no longer be so critical of my myself or my work.
- I will no longer stress out that I am a rubbish housewife…especially when I’m not even a housewife.
- I will no longer make everything ‘my job’, and let others help me…and not criticise if they don’t do it ‘my way’ (really need to work on this one).
- I will no longer stress over previous mistakes.
- I will no longer only see ‘my best’ as when I have been working on the same thing for an age and can no longer see it as a real thing. Sometimes the first go is the best.
I will give myself the space to do a good job but not berate myself if 1. it’s not perfect, and 2. it’s taken me a little longer than I had hoped or anticipated.
What about you guys? How have you been letting yourselves off of the perfectionism ladder?
Until next time. x