From One Perfectionist To Another
I told myself at 16 that if I didn't write and publish my first novel by 20, I'd give it up and devote myself to a serious career, something that required a briefcase and business suit. When I was 20, I told myself that if I didn't write and publish my first novel by 25, I'd give it up and devote myself to a serious career, you know one that helped me do real adult things like pay my bills on time and treat people to meals. When I turned 25, I cried. Then I told myself if I didn't write and publish my first book by 30, I'd finally settle down and accept writing as a hobby. Oh and get a serious career, of course.
I'm 26. I still haven't finished a novel, but I'm the closest I've ever been to a first draft. I guess it only took 10 years.
The closer I get to 30, the more I've tried to grant myself the patience to reassess, retrace and begin again.
My tendency when it comes to failure, has always been choosing a new path, swearing off my old choices as naive or unfeasible.
While I'm all for fresh beginnings and exploration, I've come to find, at least personally, that the far more important journey may be revisiting the steps of a failed road. Observing where we went wrong, areas where we were too confident, others where we weren't confident enough. Then having the courage to walk all the way to the beginning and give the entire thing a second, third, fourth or in my case 59th go.
It's far easier to pretend like our dreams don't matter or better yet, that they simply "weren't meant to be." It's much harder to admit that we didn't do them justice or failed to show up for them altogether.
But I'm finding that the more trips I take down this road, the more permission I give myself to start over, the more I learn. And, ultimately, the less pain I feel reflecting on my mistakes.
Wishing you the same, from one perfectionist to another.