At the moment, I am on vacation with my family, traveling in our camper. I enjoy these trips and love having time to decompress. But, as often happens during down times such as these, my thoughts turn to self-reflection. For me this is not a pleasant process. It often reveals shortcomings and imperfections and I find myself anxious to get back to “normal life”, so that I don’t have to think about these unpleasant thoughts any more.
However, over the years, I’ve come to realize that these painful and unpleasant reflections generally lead to some “Ah ha” moments. On this particular trip, my “Ah ha” moment was an intense realization that being a perfectionist stinks. It holds me back. From what, you may ask? Well, for me, recently it has held me back from winning tennis matches I should’ve won, from completing and even starting projects around the house, and even posting to my blog. I haven’t posted to my blog in 6 months. Sure, there are many excuses for this: I’ve been very busy (though, anyone with school-aged kids has the same struggle); we have had an uncommonly stressful last few months which multiple illnesses in the family…etc…etc…etc.
But the reason I haven’t posted is not because I have a lack of material. In fact, I have a trove of unposted drafts that I haven’t finished or don’t have the courage to post. I want what I post to be perfect, to be compelling, to be useful…. And if it doesn’t hit those standards, in my opinion, it sits as a draft. Why do I care, asks my husband? The answer is that I shouldn’t but nevertheless I do. But really, if I rationally think about it, how can I hit those standards? I like to write but I’m not a trained writer. I feel compelled to write but I haven’t had any unique experiences that many others haven’t also survived. But, perhaps, what I write can be useful. Perhaps, others feel as I do and can relate to my struggles and my own daily battle of striving to meet some unattainable or unrealistic expectation.
Thank God, though, for my husband. He talks some sense into me. He says that I should write because I want to, or because I feel compelled to, and that I should let the words I write and the thoughts I have over time determine what I do with my blog. Do I need to know my voice or audience now? Do I always have to write on the same topic or theme? Do readers need to be awestruck every time they read a post? No, because like most things, if I wait until I write the perfect post it will probably never come. In the meantime, I am going to take my husband’s advice and write because I enjoy it and because something compelled me to put my thoughts to paper.