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May 2006

Dastardly sayings

May 24, 2006   

Yesterday, the theme was, “The more you know, the more you realize how little you know,” as pointed out in the comments by A_B. And I agree with that 100%

Today, it’s, “If it’s not worth doing right, it’s not worth doing at all.” This one, I have to disagree with. Same with, “Don’t start anything you can’t finish,” which is pretty much the same thing. Screw that.

It’s an idea that I’ve always let rule my actions, and if not my actions, my judgment of those actions. And it’s been debilitating. I’ll look at a project and be filled with horror and stress at how long it’ll take to get perfect. I’ll look at the bathroom and know in my head exactly how long it’ll take, exactly how much work it’ll take to get it up to the level of shininess I think is acceptable, and think to myself that I don’t have that kind of time right now (which is always).

It seems so fricking obvious, but realizing that a hefty portion of my procrastination had to do with my inability to consider a half-done job as being ok progress has been really freeing.

Looking back at the last few years, this is so obvious that I want to poke myself in the head. Not that I know what that would accomplish. Anyway, it’s one of those things people constantly say, and you think to yourself, “Yeah, duh,” and roll your eyes that some moron thought they needed to put it into small words so that your small mind can understand it.

But seriously? I let it rule so much of me. I think I finally really get it, as it applies to me.

When was I most able to enjoy writing? When I shed the restrictions I had put upon myself, when I stopped micromanaging every word and phrase that came out of my mouth, when the month of working on NaNoWriMo flew by in a haze of triumph.

When was I able to lose weight? When I decided that I didn’t need to have lofty goals and be perfect and stick to such strict rules. It took so damn long before any noticeable change, but it’s been working and I’m still on my way.

When was I able to learn to exercise? When I decided not to put “real” exercise (i.e. working out in a “natural” way, not at the gym) on a pedestal and value the convenience that the gym offers. Well, I’m still learning.

The last week, I’ve been doing tiny little cleaning exercises — not enough that other people can tell, I’m sure, but enough that I can see how easy it would be to incorporate the small actions into my everyday life as a subconscious habit. No, the bathroom is not nearly as spotless as I think it needs to be in order to be considered clean. No, the kitchen is not reorganized yet. But I’ve been scrubbing sinks and tubs and toilets in the last few days in a matter of minutes per task. When I have something I’m waiting for, like food to heat up in the microwave, I whip out the vaccum and run it over the rug in the livingroom. No, I didn’t get the entire room, and no, I didn’t get the entire house. But the rug is almost dogfur-free, and it took me almost no time. I’ll get the other parts of the room when I’m waiting for something else. And something else after that.

Feeling like I don’t have to stick to my mother’s top-to-bottom routines has left me feeling quite free. Feeling like I can straighten half a table at a time has made me feel like it’s not a problem, it’s progress.

I can’t wait to figure out what other things I can apply this knowledge to.