Friday, June 24, 2011

Confessions of a Neurotic Planner and Perfectionist

Ok, a couple of things:

First of any of you bloggers out there actually plan ahead and write down what you're going to blog about? I'll be honest and say that the thought never even occurred to me until my sister Sunny and I had a conversation about it yesterday. I guess I'm more of a "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of girl when it comes to blogging. Pretty much whatever is in my brain when I sit down at the computer is regurgitated onto my blog (hence the random ramblings). I have been moderately satisfied with this approach thus far, but, the more I think about it, the more the whole "plan it out" concept sounds like a really good idea. After all, I am one of those people who likes to have a plan. Don't get me plans generally end up being thrown out the window at some point, and I am once again "flying by the seat of my pants," but I do like to have a general idea of what I'm going to do ahead of time in any given situation.

In fact, this need of mine to have a plan drives my husband absolutely nuts. Like, for example, when I ask him on Monday, "Hey, what's the plan for this weekend?" And he gives me a vague, "Hm...I don't know." So, I ask him in a different way, "Oh. Well, are we doing anything on Saturday?" And he again responds with something ambiguous like, "Um...I'm not sure yet." Now at this point, I realize that most sane people would recognize the fact that either:

A) He really has no idea what is going on this weekend, or
B) He is contemplating doing something that I probably won't like (read: inviting a billion people over to my house to barbecue and leaving me seething inside the house with everybody's kids while he and his buddies hang out, since he knows that I'm miserably pregnant and not the least bit interested in barbecuing outside in the hot Texas weather).

So, again, most sane people, recognizing that one of those two scenarios is likely, would drop the subject and maybe pick it back up on Thursday or Friday. But me? Oh, no...not me. I'm a PLANNER. I just HAVE to know what's going on this weekend, and I need to know NOW. I am fully aware that I will not receive an answer to my question until Thursday evening at the earliest, and yet, I can't help asking repeatedly, using varying sentences, until my husband is completely irritated and tells me to stop bugging him about it. Oh. Right. I guess that is kind of bad? But, for real...are we planning to do anything on Saturday? Hahaha. The craziest thing about this whole scenario is that, yes, "Plan B" WOULD be immensely irritating; BUT, what my husband fails to realize, is that I would handle the "Plan B Barbecue Madness" SO MUCH BETTER if I knew the plan in advance, and NOT when there are suddenly 50 screaming, jumping, running children bouncing off the walls of my house. This is just the first scenario that popped into my brain (again with the random regurgitation!), but it is pretty typical of my entire outlook on life. So, yes, I can definitely fly by the seat of my pants (Oh! Surprise twins due before Ovaka's first birthday? No problem!), but I do like to have a plan.

And, apparently, so do many bloggers. In fact, enough people do actually plan out their blogs that some sort of fancy blog-planning paperwork exists. Huh. Who knew? I'm intrigued. Luckily for me, Sunny said she got me some! How great is that? So, once this exciting new paperwork is received, you can look forward to reading a much more PLANNED blog from me in the near future!

Alrighty is out of the way, so let's move on, shall we?
As you know if you read my last post, I've been thinking a lot about talents in the last few weeks. And, as I've pondered the topic of talents from a variety of angles, I started thinking about people who are not afraid to try new things. Obviously, this thought came about as I was debating whether I should start this new endeavor of mine, and I came up with a few different categories that I think most people fall into when it comes to trying new things:

  1. First: the "I Don't Mind Looking Foolish Until I Get It Right" people. These people can throw themselves wholeheartedly into a new activity, fall down, brush themselves off, and get back up to try again without even batting an eye. These are also the people who are usually extremely successful because they are not afraid of looking silly while learning new skills.

  2. Next: the "I'll Try This, But I'll Probably Make a Joke of It or Act Like I Don't Really Care About Getting Better At It So That I Don't Look Foolish" people. These are the kids that drive me CRAZY when I'm coaching...the ones who have potential, but refuse to work hard enough to get better, or refuse to change bad habits because they're satisfied with being mediocre rather than risk looking foolish while learning something new.

  3. And, Finally: the "I Won't Bother Trying Because I Might Fail" people. Self-explanatory.

So...I started wondering which category I fell into. And, sadly, I've decided that in many aspects of my life, I am a 2 or a 3. WHAT?? SERIOUSLY?? Yes, Kalani, it's absolutely true. Recognizing that was a SERIOUS blow to my self esteem, but has motivated me to do something about it. I notice that I have no problem doing things that I'm already relatively good at. I guess that's no surprise, since most people are comfortable doing things they're already good at. But, when it comes to stepping outside that comfort zone, I am EXTREMELY cautious...sometimes to the point of paralysis. I guess I'm something of a perfectionist: I like to do things right, or not at all. It comes from years and years of having that very mantra ingrained in my brain. I can vividly recall being about 5 or 6 and wanting to "play" volleyball with my dad. I was just a kid and JUST WANTED TO HAVE FUN, so I was being silly and playing with, gasp, incorrect form. My dad was not amused. In fact, he told me, in all my kindergarten glory, that I needed to "play right or get off the court!" So, there you go. This concept helped me tremendously as an athlete, as it forced me to strive for perfection. But, I've found that all or nothing is not always the best way to approach LIFE. What happens in a situation where the "right" way is kind of unknown?

Here's an example: At our church, we typically have one day each month where the women get together to do some kind of fun, enriching activity. Usually it involves learning a new skill or making a craft...something uplifting and enjoyable. This month, however, there is no formal activity, and instead we were all encouraged to perform "random acts of kindness" for the other members of our congregation. That sounded like such a lovely idea to me. And I started trying to think of fun things I could do to be kind to the other ladies in our little group. But, here's where the paralysis set in. There is no "right" thing to do. Too many choices. Too many ways to fail:

Maybe I should make them cookies? Oh, but what if they're on a diet...then it's not very kind of me to bring by something sweet and calorie-filled. Or what if they have a weird allergy I don't know about? It wouldn't be very kind to tempt them with my delicious cookies if they couldn't even eat them, now would it? How can I do the perfect "random act of kindness" with all of these extra unknown variables involved??

So, here it is, almost the end of the month, and I've basically shot down every single "kind" idea I could dream up based on ridiculous "what ifs." And I realized that, in this aspect of my life, I am a member of that dreaded group 3. How disappointing. And I'm like this in so many other ways. I have a love/hate relationship with scrapbooking. I make beautiful scrapbooking pages, if I do say so myself, but very few of them actually house any of my pictures. Why, you may ask? Because I always end up thinking, "Do I REALLY want to glue this down permanently? What if I make a different page and realize that this picture would be a PERFECT FIT for that one?" I know...I'm nuts! It's ridiculous! And, I realized that I was doing that with my jewelry, too: saving all of my favorite stones "just in case" I think of something better to do with them...purchasing some sterling silver wire to upgrade my quality, but being too afraid to make a mistake with it, and going back to the "silver-colored non-tarnish" wire I'm comfortable using...the list goes on and on. But, NO MORE! So, in the very near future, expect to see some sterling silver jewelry in my collection. And expect to see some beautiful, previously unseen crystals and stones. I AM NOT A 3. I'M NOT EVEN A 2. I may not be in Group 1 just yet, but I'm on my way!

P.S. Does anyone have any good "random acts of kindness" to suggest? I'd love to hear them before the month is completely over! ;)


carterpolo said...

Everyone likes a note in the mail. Simple, but it makes someone's day.

Monty & Catherine said...

Ok so who knew we were so much alike! I don't want to be a 2 or 3 either! But after reading this I'm afraid it's my reality. You are a great blogger ;) act of kindness ... Tell someone what you appreciate about them - a gift that will never be forgotten! Or if you want something tangible - and you sound crafty - you can craft small flowers out of cloth or something - they won't ever wilt or die! Simple and small things to let someone know you thought of them and care.

Kalani said...

Thanks for the great ideas, you guys! I've made a solemn vow to do SOMETHING kind for someone tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes! :)