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Friday, January 14, 2005


Letting go of A+

I am a recovering perfectionist. About a year ago I realized with horror that the education system in this country had conditioned me to permanently seek the proverbial A; I've made a lot of progress since then, but there are still times I just can't let go of things. I guess that makes me human.

Case in point: this week at work I emailed someone and was more specific than I needed to be in describing why they weren't a good fit for a particular project. I could have just said "you weren't a good fit." But I didn't, out of a compulsion to be completely honest about everything (in case you hadn't figured that out about me just yet :)). This haunted me for days afterwards -- I felt like I'd unnecessarily (and unintentionally) hurt the person's feelings, like I was naive in my compulsion to explain things fully, like I needed to learn how to operate in the business world (though even typing those words makes me gag - if I can't be myself in the business world, then I'm in the wrong world). Meanwhile I knew that obsessing wasn't going to undo the email...I tried to tell myself, "you aren't perfect, you make mistakes, you learn from them." But still my mind returned to it over and over again.

This Emerson quote hangs by my computer as a reminder to let things go:

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

I think one day, when I have a house, I'm going to wallpaper an entire room with quotes like this, as a kind of sanctuary - a reminder that people have been struggling with the same issues for a long, long time.

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