Stop Trying To Be Perfect

The title is a reminder for myself.

I used to make having fun top priority. After my childhood, when I was trying to really figure out how to be in this world, but before college, when I decided okay, now I have to really be in this world. Teenager-y years, I guess. Don’t we all go through a phase like that? Rebel a bit. We just want to party. I did. I had capital-F Fun.

Somewhere along the line, towards the more recent part of my 29 years (holy shit, I’m 29…), I got the idea in my head that people care about what I do, say, and think. Where did this idea come from? Probably from the fact that people have been telling me exactly that my whole life and it finally sunk in. (Sure, I’ve heard some stuff to counter that, but it’s not nearly as prolific.) Whether it was parents telling me not to do or say certain things because they were rude, teachers scolding me for breaking the rules (I hardly ever broke rules, but teachers are very good at preventive scolding), or hearing people talk passionately about their different views… the general message was that other people DO care about what I do, say, and think.

As I got better at being a person, I got better at accommodating this reasoning into my everyday actions. But this idea only really applies to a certain extent. I believe it does matter to have tact, be mindful of others (especially in shared spaces), and be open-minded, but pleasing others should not be the main goal of anyone’s life.

This “stop trying to be perfect” reminder for myself is a measure of self-preservation — so I don’t drive myself crazy living a life around others (who may or may not even notice my existence). And also to not live my life for my own ideas of what others may or may not be thinking. It’s a huge guessing game which only makes everyone stressed, and is rarely worth the effort.

Also, I have control over the bar I hold up for myself. We cannot control others. It is a waste of time and usually destructive. (Side note: instead of worrying about offending other people, work on not letting yourself be [easily] offended. Why should you do all that work, you may ask? Think about how pleasant the world would be if everyone worked on being less offendable. We’d be living in Easy-Going Get-Along-Ville. End side note.)

For example, I used to have a lot of fun with language. My diaries and journals were riddles with run-on sentences, incomplete sentences (I quite like incomplete sentences. They’re all like Bam! Ba. Am.), and made-up words. Those were the fun parts. There was also spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, but nobody else was reading it so I didn’t care.

Enter this blog. Other people are reading it. Should I start to care? Only, I didn’t ask myself that question. I just assumed that they (you) did. I fussed over grammar and structure and if I was being a rambling idiot (circa my ’00s journals… man, they were fun to write). Even for this post title (and every post title) I wonder if it’s the most succinct title (does succinct even mean what I think it means?) and WHICH WORDS ARE CAPITALIZED AND WHICH AREN’T??? I never know. Should the “to” be capitalized? Should the “be”? I don’t know. I never know. But I’m just now deciding…

I don’t care! As long as I’m being clear, I’m not going to fuss about grammar technicalities (of course I will avoid the egregious ones, but something’s gotta be said for colloquial-ality) or if I’m rambling or whatever. I’m going to have fun.

My example is quite niche, but it’s an idea to be embraced. Stop trying to be perfect. Try to be the best, try to be good, but don’t let perfectionism be the enemy of the good. Don’t let hypothetical worries spoil my fun.

I knew it before, as a teenager (there is so much we can learn from teenagers). I explode creatively if I don’t keep myself in a box. I’m happy when I do things I like for myself. I shine when I let myself shine.

I think I can tell when I’m consuming something created by someone else embracing this idea. It radiates through their work. Maybe I’m wrong, but it’s just a feeling I get. And from this end, I’d rather do whatever I can to cultivate that energy of happiness and wonder. It will sure improve my side of things. If it shines through for others, all the better.

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