Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I just skimmed an article on perfectionism. It talked about how perfectionists can get paralyzed by the realization that they can't do something perfect. I originally read the article with Q-bert in mind, but as I read on it became painfully obvious that it was describing me (as a child and even now sometimes).

For example, I have been stressing over how to celebrate my husbands 40th birthday. It seems like the kind of thing that needed the perfect celebration, but he kept saying he didn't really want a big party. To make things more difficult his birthday is in our busiest time of year (more about that later). So trying to schedule things with friends was nearly impossible. I had lots of ideas, but none of them were panning out. So I kind of gave up... Not really, but I did decide to just forget about it for a while. Of course, that is difficult for me, so instead I tried to distract myself by figuring out what else was on my very busy schedule.

Fall used to be my favorite season. The weather is not too hot, not too cold. Everywhere you look there are beautiful things to look at. The farm stands are full of delicious apples and other fall fruits and veggies. Fall food is so comforting. It is the perfect time for a bonfire which in my estimation is the most perfect form of socializing. The problem is that, other than myself, everyone in my household has a birthday in the fall. Kids want Halloween costumes. I have to start Christmas shopping on Oct. Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday to host. Add to that all the "grown-up" chores associated with fall, and now you have a season that I almost dread.

So as I made my list of chores (other than my dear husband's birthday) that needed doing I got more and more unhappy. It became more and more obvious that there was no way to complete all these things perfectly. So I did what any self respecting person would do... I threw away the list, and did something else. I needed to feel productive so I painted my foyer and hallway. Never mind that those things weren't even on the list. Never mind that those things could have waited, and those things created other things that maybe couldn't wait and therefore had to be added to the list.

Truth is, the rooms look great, and getting them done jump started me. Completing one thing to my specifications allowed me to have the confidence to try the other things on my list. I didn't start with the birthday party because I wasn't ready for that yet. I made a list of the appointments that I needed to make. I called and made those. As I was listening to the elevator music on one of those calls the perfect birthday plan came to me. So I was able to make it happen.

So although the article I read was bagging on perfectionism as some sort of disability I think in most cases (if approached properly) it is a great thing. Other people would have settled for half of their birthday plan working out, and that would have been ok, but this is going to be PERFECT :-)

No comments: