I have noticed recently that I keep saying, “perfect” in conversation. I think I picked it up from my preceptor last semester who said it in response to mean “great” or “fine.” What is funny is that when I say, “perfect,” the thing usually is not perfect but functional.
I have been thinking a lot about perfection recently. Maybe it’s because I got my first less than stellar grade in graduate school. Maybe it’s because in the couple sessions of utilizing my campus’s therapy I was told I struggled with perfectionism. Maybe it’s because I have so many competing expectations and I am just tired of juggling all the balls and just want some to fall. Maybe it’s because I’m reading The Heart of Perfection by Colleen Carroll Campbell who is changing my idea of perfection.
I always thought that if I accepted something as functional that I could not be a perfectionist. But her definition of perfectionism has shaken me. Carroll Campbell writes that “perfectionism is simply an addiction to control and a refusal to accept imperfection in some human endeavor.” And boy does that apply to a lot in my life right now.
I want so badly to have a good answer when people ask me what I want to do after school. I want so badly to have an idea as to where I want to settle down forever. I want to control my future so badly.
I also berate myself over a less than stellar grade (when the grading scale made no sense and was changed for this semester). I berate myself for the fact that I forget birthdays when I barely have enough extra brain cells to remember my grocery list and words like “enabling.” I want to do better so badly.
But Carroll Campbell’s message of gentleness, joy, and gratitude rings so much more true than the mental and physical hamster wheel I’m running on.
As I have been looking at my life for things I can back off on, this blog comes to mind. I started posting bi-weekly a while ago to hold myself accountable. At the time, I was doing a lot of graduate school reading and only the occasional long paper with discussion posts (which I could write in my sleep by the end of those online classes!). Now, I am writing all the time, from SOAP notes to case studies and this endless literature review for my dissertation. The last thing I want to do after my school work is write more when it used to be the thing I looked forward to.
I have decided this is my free year. I am taking a break from a lot of the expectations I have of myself. I am taking a break from dating because I put so much pressure on myself to find a spouse. I am taking a break from any dieting because I put so much pressure on my weight to define my self-worth. And I need to take a break from blogging because I put so much pressure on myself to become an author instead of enjoying the journey that I am that will give me my unique voice.
I need a break from regularly scheduled blogging. So for my faithful followers (Hi, Mom and Dad!), postings are going to be sporadic.
I do not know what or when I’ll be writing more. I know I have a long list of books I’ve been reading buried in my drafts somewhere and it may come out eventually. But who knows? I don’t.
All I know is that what ends up being perfect felt nothing like it at the time. Take the header picture. This is from Lake Bled in Slovenia, which I’ve written about before. My friends and I woke up at 4am to hike up a trail we took forever to find to hike up a mountain to get a glimpse of the sunrise. We were cold and hungry, but it was so beautiful we could barely come down. And it was still beautiful at the bottom. When I think of that morning, I remember it as perfect not in spite of but because of its imperfections.
I would love for this blog to be weekly. I would love to work on a fan base. I would love to have a better layout and integrate with social media. I would love to write something I am so proud of each week. But I do not have the strength or energy for that. Maybe someday, maybe not. But school and work are my priorities at the moment, and as the wise Ron Swanson once said: