don’t let perfect be the enemy of good

“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

 

That’s the quote in Gretchen Rubin’s one-sentence journal today. Today is the 10th day of January and I have written for at least 20 minutes on 6 of those 10 days. I was supposed to get four days off and I’ve taken all of them. I had good excuses. On January 2nd, I was on a getaway overnight with my husband while my wonderful in-laws watched our toddler. On January 5th, I spent the day prepping for travel and then getting to the airport / flying / getting on a connecting flight/ getting baggage/ waiting for our ride / sitting in traffic all the way home. On January 8th, my dear friend from Portland had her flight back cancelled so we got to have dinner and hang out during the time I was planning on writing. I did scribble in my journal for 5 minutes while she was trying to figure out flight stuff.  Yesterday, I had a surprise IEP cancellation so I was able to meet my friend again for dinner and then I took my toddler to the park. And then some other friends came over to hang out after he went to sleep.

 

But if I wasn’t doing this project- of the 10 days in January, I most likely would have written during zero of those days.

 

Like I said at the beginning, this is an experiment and I’m discovering things. One major thing is that my computer sucks. (Sorry, computer. I feel bad writing that about the computer I’m currently using.) It takes forever to boot up and I can’t turn it on while the toddler is awake because he’ll be all like “ooooo Mommy’s toy with all the buttons! I want to press them all!!” And then there’s my desk. Maybe if I can clean off my desk again and get a chair in front of it so my laptop can live there, I won’t have to boot it up every time. I absolutely cannot invest in a new computer/device at the moment. I type much faster than I write by hand and I feel extremely impeded when I have to write by hand.

 

But I’ve done it. This morning, I spent 15 minutes writing in a journal and came to the idea for this blog post. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get writing in today either because I go to therapy on Tuesday nights. Thursday night is book club and Friday, I’m going on a party bus to see Ruby Ribbon’s spring line. So I have to plan to have that time in there somewhere.

 

That’s the difference though… I’m making time to do something that otherwise I’d leave to just when it’s convenient or when I feel like it. While the fact that I let 4 days get away from me was disappointing at first, I was reminded that I was creating a habit and creating habits is hard. And I won’t let perfect be the enemy of good. It’s good that I wrote 6 out of 10 days this month- not perfect, but good.

Advertisements

I read “Ready Player One” so you don’t have to

(this was also published on Goodreads and —- spoiler alert)

Imagine a world where the guy downing corn chips and spending 20+ hours logged into a videogame ends up winning the inheritance of the richest man on earth. And that he is able to do this because of his wide breadth of knowledge about 80’s pop culture and his years of time spent mastering Atari games. Oh yeah- he also gets the girl at the end who barely loses to him and who happens to be just as beautiful as her avatar (and he gets to be as ugly as he wants in real life, nbd).

Among the many quotes on the back of the book extolling its virtues, John Scalzi writes that it’s a “nerdgasm” and that’s pretty much how I felt about it the whole time. Reading this book made me feel like I was squishing my way through someone’s nerdgasm. Someone with poor hygiene.

Now imagine reading 370 pages of written narration of someone playing a videogame- with enough detail that you might be able to replicate the game moves if you ever needed to. I skipped over pages at a time that could have been replaced with “And then I got the sword” or whatever.

This book was obviously not written for me. It was written for guys my age (grew up in the 80’s) who have embraced their videogame obsession and haven’t totally gotten a grasp of what makes a plot sexist. Those guys might care about the details of what buttons the main character pushed to do what and actually roll their eyes if the author got something wrong ( I mean… heaven forbid the story would be unrealistic).

I am SO glad I’m done with it and I’m sad it took me all of December to read it. GAME OVER!!

 

The Practice Project

I have always been bad at practicing- especially things I had no inherent talent for, but also things I was good at. I was a decent trumpet player in school without trying but I absolutely would not practice at home regularly and perhaps missed out on being an excellent trumpet-player. But that was middle school… there are other not-as-random things I don’t practice- like writing or cleaning or having meaningful conversations or exercising. 

I have lots of theories about why I don’t practice anything but the strongest reason I can think of is that I’m a perfectionist. Anything not done perfectly is not worth doing… or the act of practicing means admitting I’m less-than-perfect in whatever area it is and that’s uncomfortable enough to make me never do it. 

Because of this, I have always been plagued with “if-only” thoughts. If only I made time to write every day, maybe I could fulfill my dream of having a successful blog and a book deal. If only I made time to clean every day, I’d have more people over and/or feel less stressed out. If only I exercised 20 min a day, I would have more energy and my clothes would fit better and I’d be more confident. 

Also, for the last few months, I’ve been attempting to practice mindfulness. Every time I notice that I’m overwhelmed, it has helped me to say the word “practice” to myself. It’s been a tiny reminder that I’m practicing and I don’t have to have it all figured out yet. 

The Project

So for 2017, I am launching the Practice Project. I will be practicing practicing. Once a month, I will choose one thing to practice consistently and I am going to blog about it. At the end of that month, I get to decide if it’s something I’d like to continue or if it’s something I am ok not doing consistently. 

The Goals

Here are the things I am hoping to accomplish by doing this:

1. To have a solid answer to my “if-only” inner monologue.

2. To receive the benefits of taking on good habits: stronger skills, better endurance, resilience, physical health benefits, mental health benefits, increased knowledge, broader and stronger social network, improved relationships, increased opportunities for work/fun/positive experiences- to name a few. 

3. To produce regular content for a blog. 

The Rules

Here are some rules for my project:

1. I can change rules as-needed. This is an experiment and I’m expecting to discover things that do and don’t work so I have to be able to make changes. 

2. I can fail. Stuff happens and if I can’t get my practice in for a month (or more), I’m still allowed to continue the project. (That’s really hard for a perfectionist.)

3. I can practice other stuff too. Just because February is cleaning month, it doesn’t mean I won’t try to also practice meditation or exercising or whatever- the themes are just focuses for each month. Writing is a practice I’ll have to continue to make the project work throughout the year. 

The First Practice 

As you might guess from that last rule, my practice for January is writing. I will write for at least 20 minutes a day with 4 days off I can take at any time. A lot of the writing will be published here, but not necessarily all of it. To support this practice, I will be reading “On Writing” by Stephen King and writing a review. 

Practicing the rest of the year

I have tried several times to write my final list of 12 practices for the year and I’ve been unable to do so. I am allowing myself to pick the practice I need most as I go. That said, below is a list of possible practices for the year:

  • Tidying up
  • Social engagement
  • Completing projects
  • Loving kindness
  • Meditation 
  • Trumpet
  • Spanish
  • Photo a day
  • Social engagement 
  • Blog building 
  • Epic lunches
  • Spirituality
  • Excellent spouse month
  • Excellent parent month
  • SLP research
  • Activism
  • Health
  • Beauty/self care maintenance (flossing, using moisturizer, etc)
  • Community building
  • Singing
  • Completing episode 1 of a serial killers piece I’ve had in my head for like 10 years 
  • Finishing the manuscript of the kid’s book I’ve had in my head for years
  • Listening to new (to me) music 
  • Developing recurring features for my blog (I.e. random fact Friday, ask a religious person…)
  • Being in nature

At the beginning of each month, I will announce the month’s practice , its rules and what book I will be reading to support the practice.

This project is gigantic in some ways… it’s a commitment to 12 resolutions and 300+ days of dedicated activity… but I’ve built in flexibility, release valves and preemptive forgiveness. And I might accomplish incredible things. Or I won’t. Let’s see what happens!

Want to practice with me? Let’s be friends and support each other! Follow this blog or email me at sincerelyimitated@gmail.com or follow me on Instagram @sincerelyimitated and hashtag #practiceproject

maybe that’s what you should do.

Tags

, , , , ,

My whole life, whenever I have heard about someone with a job that seemed remotely interesting, entertaining or meaningful, I have had an impulse thought pop up that says something like, “Maybe that’s what you should do.” The last two years or so, that impulse has slowly begun to lose power. Now, my thought process goes “Maybe that’s what you should do. But people who do those things have to be accountable. They make mistakes and have to answer for them. They have to deal with unhappy people. They have to deal with failure. They have to deal with the minutiae of their job that seems to have nothing to do with the fundamental goal of their work. Why don’t you, instead of considering that someone else has it better, luxuriate in the freedom of casual interest? Enjoy some carefree dabbling? Take up a research project with complete permission to chuck it all the second it gets boring or tedious?”

 

I would say that’s progress. Or maybe it’s just getting old. I guess those two things are the same thing.

people are worried. people are working.

Tags

, ,

People aren’t doing their jobs. People are doing their jobs. People are mad about whether people are doing their jobs or not. People are worried about whether or not they’re doing their own jobs. People are worried about whether people think they aren’t doing their own jobs. People are worried that their jobs are unimportant. People are worried that their jobs are really important but that they are incompetent at their jobs. People are worried that they’re in the wrong job. People are worried they will never know what the right job is or if they’ll never have time in their lives to find out what the right job is. People are worried that they worry about their job too much and that they should spend more time living their real lives- the part of their lives that does not involve their job. People worry that there is no part of their life that does not involve their job. People worry that, on their deathbed, they will regret how much time they spent at their job or how much time they spent worrying about their job or how much time they spent worrying about how much they worried about their job. People think it’s their job to worry. People worry that if they’re not worried about their job, it means they’re not doing their job or doing their job enough.

Does anybody not worry about their work? What would that be like? To not be concerned with what occupies their time…

Would anything be worth doing if it wasn’t something to worry about? If there is anything to be done, isn’t there also worry to be had if it is not done or not done right?

Worry precedes work. Work precedes worry.

hiking with a toddler in the rain

Tags

, , , ,

Keeping watch over a toddler in public spaces requires you to be in fight-or-flight mode most of the time and it’s evolutionary and probably good for your kid. It just sucks for you.

That said, I got to have the moment today when it started raining on the hiking trail and I stretched my arms out and tilted my head to the sky, letting the rain hit my face. It was just a moment, but I closed my eyes. When I opened my eyes, my son was watching me, smiling.

Hiking with a toddler (much like doing anything else with a toddler) requires some patience. He wanted to stop every few feet to investigate a pinecone or a stick or to see if he could see the running water he was hearing.  He can run fast enough that I have to jog to keep up with him, but on the trail today, he took a very slow pace. He also wanted to investigate the tunnel and the mosaic garden that wasn’t on our way. I kept reminding myself to follow his example and pay more attention. Not fair that I had to pee the whole time though. It might have been easier if I could just go in my pants like he does.

edufashion. it’s a thing.

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

I wore my skeleton dress to work today and an older woman complemented me on it and then said “Pity you can only wear it one day a year” – What? Why would I only wear this awesome dress once a year? It glows in the dark! And it has POCKETS???!!!!!  Of course, I have a large problem with anyone feeling bad about a thing ever so I just smiled and nodded and kept walking instead of telling her how I wear my awesome dress all the time just maybe not at work. Here’s an image of it from ModCloth:bone

It’s also the closest dress I have to something Ms. Frizzle** from Magic School Bus might wear.  I also will probably wear it again on Monday since I work at a different school Monday***

 

**I had to look up the correct spelling of her name. And #lifegoals . Nobody produces dresses that actually look like Ms. Frizzle’s. If I could pay someone fairly to make me a dress that’s actually like hers, I would gladly do so. There are lots of images on the internet of sad attempts to imitate her look but nobody’s pulling it off.

frizzleI mean… the world needs this dress to actually exist.

 

 

***BTdubs, the best perk of working at different sites on different days is that you can recycle outfits… instead of keeping them in a rotation which makes people think you’re on top of your laundry…

 

And P.S. “Edutainment” is a word people use for educating entertainment… What would educating fashion be called? Edufashion? Fashionucation? Fashucation? Fasiculation?

changing the negativity conversation: a request

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So seriously positive people who hate complaining and complainers… what do you do for small talk? When someone is sighing their brains out about how hard it all is, there is only so much “That sounds really tough, I’m sorry” I can do before I have to just agree with them or pretend to agree with them. And if I say that I agree with them, I can feel their negative energy creeping into my brainwaves and I am doing so much work to fight against unnecessary negativity!!!

 

Ugh… SIGH… it’s just SO HARD! See? Like that.

 

How do I stop that? How do I be a supportive coworker/friend/etc. without falling into their spiral of badness? And what do I talk about if I don’t have to complain about how overwhelmed I am? Does anybody have a good strategy for turning around a negative conversation?

 

I asked the “Let it Be” people (that’s the “podcast about less doing and more being) and they said “good question!” but they didn’t answer it. They got stuff to do… or stuff to … be.

 

So help, internet. Please. Thanks!

mindfulness, hospitals, Busy, panic, rant

Tags

, , , , , , ,

1   I’ve been on a big mindfulness kick lately. I go on mindfulness kicks every now and then and whenever I do it, there is a voice in the back of my head that tells me I’m doing something frivolous and not worthwhile. Then another voice argues that stress can cause serious medical problems and so it is worthwhile. And then another voice expresses extreme anxiety that I am too stressed out and it’s going to lead to health problems- health problems that are ALL MY FAULT. And WHY AREN’T YOU DOING MORE TO CALM DOWN? CALM DOWN!!!!!!!!!

2.  I have this horrible thought that comes up pretty much every time I hear about someone I know having to be laid up in the hospital. This horrible thought is, “How very nice for them- maybe it will be me someday.” What a weird thing to think. But people in the hospital are being allowed to rest, to be taken care of, to take a break from their responsibilities- and they have an external reason for it. Something happened beyond their control so they are also excused from the guilt of not being Busy. I don’t know what the answer to this is… maybe to pull out and find hospital time for myself… time to do nothing but focus on resting and getting better. My kid is asleep and my husband is at rehearsal… so maybe now.

3. I think the most popular subject of conversation in workplaces is how Busy we all are. The more Busy you are, the better teacher/mom/therapist/worker you are, of course. If you’re not feeling so Busy, you better not admit it because people will think you don’t care enough about your job or that you need to be given more to do. I have fought and fought and fought this, but the Busy is so contagious. I mean what do you have to talk about if you’re not Busy?

4. I am afraid I don’t know how to live and work in the world and not be in a state of panic. I’ve been so much better these last few weeks but sometimes I feel like it’s an uphill battle. There are so many things and people telling me about how hard and stressful and bad things are… how failure at everything is inevitable. I don’t know what the solution is… more meditation? More medication? More friends that don’t talk like this?

5. And what is this blog post? A big huge complaining proclamation about how Hard everything is. mkay… gonna end this post now… do some deep breathing…

 

 

 

 

caledonia- or “making old people cry”

Tags

, , , ,

For a brief period of time, I was participating in a cabaret show, singing show tunes for an older audience. During that brief period of time, my dad was really into Celtic Woman. They did a cover of Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia, which is a song my dad had always liked. I’d never heard it. He sent me the sheet music with a note that if I sang this one, “you’ll really make the old people cry.”

The lyrics of this song are so sappy, I cringed reading them. I shoved the sheet music away in some forgotten folder and didn’t think any more about it. I actively avoided talking to him about it anymore.

So then last year, it came time to plan my dad’s memorial… and to decide whether or not I was going to sing. And I thought of this song… and about old people crying… I decided it was absolutely appropriate. My last inside joke with my dad.

Now that it’s been a year, I wanted to explain it… in case anyone who attended his memorial was also cringing at the lyrics. This song that I rolled my eyes at will now forever break my heart.