Thursday, March 12, 2009

Deserve Well

"What deserves doing deserves doing well."

I don't know who this was meant for, but it sure as hell is debilitating to me.

When I was in high-school, there was one teacher who I assume was severely depressive, in hindsight, who was reef on us over and over again, week after week always hammering home that we should apply ourselves, that it was truly disgraceful that no one knew proper French anymore, that we should be paying attention, often he would cry. The tirade would go on for 45 minutes, once a week. The class was supposed to be methodology or some such, but other than learning Dewey Decimal's name, well, it was for naught.

I'd come home crying myself, inasmuch as I did apply myself, and I would always do my level best in French class, and that I was always trying to pay attention in class. I was chagrined that this teacher would think I wasn't putting in max effort. My parents were a comfort, trying to make me understand that the teacher wasn't necessarily talking about me directly, maybe he was addressing those who weren't paying attention, etc. but to no avail. I remained distraught and what this teacher was saying kept hitting me, deep. I'm not claiming this particular episode eventually led to my being a perfectionist control freak, but it sure as hell didn't help.

As I look back on it now, this expression and that teacher are simply a representation of the times. To this day I still have problems with dissociating myself from self-imposed view of perfection.

Then the thought struck me: procrastination may well be a desire for perfection, and motivation being inversely proportional to possibility of a perfect task.

Let me explain. Let's say I'm gearing up to vacuum, a simple enough household task, or is it? I start planning which floor of the house I will start with. I select to start in the master bedroom.

Ok so far so good.

Then I think: I will need to gather the vacuum cleaner and attachments from the basement, two floors down; where did I put that dusting nozzle again? I should pick up the clothes lying all over the floor first; dump what's due for cleaning in the hamper, take the hamper downstairs and save a trip; fold the rest; must stow the missus' jewelry before dusting; I'll have to remake the bed seeing as some of the bedspread has slipped and is bunching up on the floor at the foot of the bed; then move the bed out and back into place; take the seat out from under the makeup commode; move the winter-chest away from the wall; I mustn't forget the slots to the wardrobe's sliding doors; I really should dust behind the window's bug screen too, so take those off; while the screens are off, may as well give a quick wipe down on the windows; since I'll have the Windex handy anyway, I'll do all the mirrors too.

Not that any of this is by any means overwhelming, it isn't, but I honestly get tired just thinking about it, and multiply it all over again for each room, with each their own quirks. And that's assuming the vacuum cleaner operating properly, that is the collection bag isn't full and the filter not too packed with dust.

All of a sudden, I really don't want to vacuum anymore. Small wonder!

Now, do I really have to do all of the above? Maybe I can take some of the edge off? Can't I get away with skipping the wardrobe slots and the mosquito screen and windows this week?

Ah, but: "What deserves doing deserves doing well."

So I suck it up, hunker down and do it all.

Bah, no biggy, it's just a vacuuming. Who cares?

Have a mental picture yet?

Now imagine if you will this very process, for every single little thing, all the time, every day.

Yeah. Perfection just isn't all it's cracked up to be.



Blogger MedStudentWife said...

Finally - someone who verbalizeswhat I go through each & every day when it comes to doing stuff around the house !!!

Thanks !!!! & I mean it - I never could put it to words before & thought I was the only one.

March 13, 2009 10:13 p.m.  
Blogger Steve said...

Well you are very welcome sweetie!

We are never "the only one". On a mataphysical level I certainly take comfort in that, although it seldom helps with the daily chores!

March 16, 2009 9:28 a.m.  

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