I don’t like to think of myself as a perfectionist. Being a perfectionist implies a need for striving, as though I’m not quite there yet. And I definitely want to be there.
I woke up feeling off balance this morning, and I find it entirely impossible to rest in the awareness of feeling this way. I want to fix it, solve it, resolve it, change it, eradicate it. My thoughts revolve round and round the question: why am I feeling off today? And the answer: I’m afraid of not being enough.
Not being enough is, for me, the essence of perfectionism. I remember reading many years ago a parenting book promoting the concept of the “good enough mother,” the idea being that good enough is good enough. We don’t need to be perfect. But if I’m not good enough no matter how hard I try, reaching the “good enough mother” benchmark is impossible. My own perfectionist standard of what good enough is for me defeats any attempt to get there.
My son asked me this morning why I did not write a blog post yesterday. I answered that I had spent the entire day with them and had no time. I worked more than an hour with Eden on her Hebrew, read them more than fifty pages in Uri’s book from school, cooked goat stew for dinner, played rummikub with Eden, set up a new system of charting our responsibilities during the day, helped Uri with his violin practice and in setting up the clarinet, and more. Yet it was not enough. I did not write a blog, did not write a synopsis for the two agents I still want to query, and did not even look at my book.
I know perfectionism is more of an obstacle than an aid to almost everything I do, whether it is my parenting, writing, cooking or housekeeping. I aspire to grow as a human being, but sitting here today, it seems to me that despite my worthy goals, really what I’ve been pursuing is perfection. I have been struggling like mad with the need to be more and more and more.
Frightening thought, but sobering too. So I think today I’m going to try a new direction. After all, being off balance should make it easier to take a fork in my road. I’m not quite sure what that fork will be like, but it looks quite springy from here, with flowers growing by the side of the path and white clouds hanging like a herd of sheep in the clear blue sky. I think, strangely enough for how I felt this morning, that today is going to be a good day. An imperfectly sunny day. Partly because it’s such a busy day there’s no way I can make it perfect, and partly because, for a change, I will not!