Hopefully I’m learning and growing at every turn in life and this morning provides another take on that. While agonizing that my weekly blog post is supposed to be done and published every Tuesday, I lament that it’s not done…it’s not perfect. Since just restarting this blog oh 5 weeks ago, and committing to a weekly schedule again, I’ve skipped a week. Damn. Time to beat myself up. But unlike 5 years ago when I originally broke the steps down into a nightly routine of write, revise, picture choice, edit, final edit, publish…I find that I just don’t have that much time these days. With it being publishing day and the week’s blog not already queued, I thought I might skip a week. Again.
Reflecting quickly on this during the morning’s bathroom time (ahem) to put it delicately, I decided I should learn from this. Get it ready, meet the deadline – my commitment. In other words, let it go.
Stop punishing myself for not being perfect. That’s the lesson here. While I loftily tout English skills and deftly discern between their, they’re, and they’re…I’m a little rustier on other rules and my addled brain is slowing down. Nowadays, I’m not always sure of the definitions of words that come to mind, if one even comes to mind without taking a significant pause to search for the right word or disappointingly settling for simple, common phrases.
The other lesson is to put things in perspective. There are some things worth spending extra time on (e.g. taxes) and there are some things that are more forgivable (e.g. balancing a checkbook). The difference is likely whether there are any consequences and whether those consequences are ‘in’ or ‘out’ of your control. In the case of taxes, you don’t want to fuck with Uncle Sam…he’s not a very nice Uncle because he can put you in jail. And remember there’s only two things you have to do. For us southern black folk, we say ‘the only two things I have to do is stay black and die’. I’ve also heard “only two things you have to do in life is die and pay taxes.” Either way, not giving your tax returns their due diligence can cost you dearly, all the way up to your freedom. On the other hand, nobody except you cares whether your checkbook is balanced. Not even the bank gives a damn, because if you make an error…they’ll charge you for it or they’ll reject your check. But you can recover from those mistakes, albeit with a lesson learned.
I already found peace with being less than perfect in cooking and relationships (and boy, am I ever imperfect there!), likely because it’s a recipe for disaster, or I made bad choices on both.
But I get a strange satisfaction out of grammar and vocabulary. I could be ever so happy grading papers the rest of my life, if I were a teacher or a publishing editor.
If someone says something is “good enough,” I generally think it probably isn’t. You’ve already compromised yourself by admitting its shortcut-ted; but that’s different that perfectionism. Perfectionism doesn’t allow us to realize that you could be done. There’s always more. Always a better word, always another thought. I’ve started rewriting a certain short story every few years, because it always seems sophomoric. And I think if we can ever reach perfection, you would have a Pulitzer winner or an academy winner because brilliance is illuminating. But so often, for so many of us, perfection doesn’t need to be the unreachable goal. They even teach this in tech world.
Maybe, done is better than perfect. After all, everything must end.