Well, hello. Long time no see.
About a year ago, I was talking to my mom about what I had been like as a child. What did she remember about me? Did she think I was generally a good kid? Was I tough to parent? She thought for a few seconds, and then said, “What I remember about you is that you were always much harder on yourself than we ever were on you. That’s the kind of kid you were – you’d get a B on a test, and when we’d congratulate you, you’d burst into tears because you weren’t satisfied with a B. With you, it always had to be an A.”
Here’s the thing about having a blog – when I ignore it for a while, I feel guilty. I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I do. And then blogging becomes this thing that I should be doing, a chore, instead of something that I do simply because I want to. This, of course, leads me to… ignore it even more. All of which is ridiculous, I know, because it’s not like I have all that many readers in the first place, and the ones I have are mostly friends who couldn’t care less whether or not I’m regularly updating my blog. But it doesn’t matter. I started this blog to keep a record of what was going on in my life, because I have a terrible memory and I’d like to be able to look back and see what was going on at various times. So I’m not satisfied unless I’m doing it often, because I set a goal for myself, dammit, and I’d like to see it through.
This tendency to have high expectations for myself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For instance, it pushes me to work hard and distinguish myself at work. It motivates me to write and re-write and revise and write some more, even on days when I don’t feel like writing. This characteristic is why I get shit done, and I can recognize that that’s a good thing.
The problem is, I’ve been wielding this aspect of my character like a mallet, when it’s really best handled with laser precision. I’ve been demanding perfection from myself in everything, even things that don’t matter very much (such as, yes, whether or not I post regularly on my blog). But it’s not just that. I’ve been beating myself up recently over the fact that I don’t have more hobbies, don’t have more friends, don’t have a cleaner house, don’t have my debt paid down. That I’m not more successful, more motivated. That I haven’t published a book or learned Spanish. That I don’t network. That I haven’t done, well, anything of note in my life. That I’m not the best at anything. That I haven’t distinguished myself at anything that matters.
I took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test a few months ago and came up an INFJ, which could not be more right-on. (For those of you whose Myers-Briggs-speak is a bit rusty, INFJ stands for Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging). Here’s a pretty relevant part of the description of your average INFJ: “INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments.”
Huh. Y’don’t say.
So. In light of the guilt, and my recognition that it’s so often unnecessary… I’m going to try something new. I’m going to try and use my own high expectations for myself like a laser instead of a mallet. I’m going to give myself the freedom to be imperfect.
I’m going to give myself permission to be tired and overwhelmed sometimes. I’m going to let myself sleep in on a Saturday without tempering my enjoyment with guilt. I’m going to cut myself some slack on the hobbies, the friends, the debt – or at least from feeling like I need to address them all at once. I can try and work on a few things at a time. Everything does not have to be running at 100% for me to be okay, be accomplished, be a worthwhile human being.
I’m going to try and use my perfectionism to my benefit, instead of letting it guilt me into inaction. Turn it on a few things that really matter and motivate myself to work hard and well at some things, rather than shining a giant, judgmental spotlight onto my whole life and berating myself for coming up short.
So yeah, I haven’t blogged in a while. It hasn’t been a priority. And that’s okay. I’ll try and write more often, because I really would like to have a record of what I’m doing. But if I don’t, I don’t. AND THAT’S OKAY.
So, with the navel-gazing portion of this post over – on to the actual what-when-where that I intended in the first place.
Not that I need an excuse after everything I just said, but part of the reason I haven’t blogged in a while is that things have been so effing busy! Mostly in a good way. I’ve been working late basically every night for the last couple of months, banking credit hours which I can then use to take days off when we have guests. And oh, have we had guests.
First, Finn’s parents came into town for a week at the end of April. (I had just purchased a new camera, so brace yourselves for an illustrated post.)
We hitched Ophelia onto her leash and let her out onto the porch to play. Finn’s parents were a bit dubious of her at first, but she really grew on them.
Ophelia, checking out birds in the rafters of our porch
The weather was gorgeous while they were here, so we went on lots of walks. Before they left we threw them a big party so they could meet some of our friends, including Finn’s midwifery partner, her husband, and their FOUR BOYS under the age of NINE. (Great, great, wonderful, adorable kids, and absolutely insane.)
View from the porch, where most of the party happened – photo by one of the 4boysunder9, all of whom wanted a turn with the camera
This is the table at the party, loaded down with food. Please note that when I say we threw a party, I mean that Finn’s dad, who is an AMAZING cook, cooked us a ton of food, which we promptly snarfed.
A few days after her parents left, Finn’s friend Gina and her 2 year old Chester came for the weekend. I won’t put pics of them up, because that seems weird, but we had a good time. I re-discovered that toddlers love me.
The weekend after Gina left, Olive came into town for a few days. She was doing her final pre-ordination meetings and vote before she becomes ordained as a minister in the UCC church. It all went well, and so she’s getting ordained in 2 weeks! I’m so thrilled for her.
The day after Olive left, Finn’s brother and sister-in-law and our niece came to visit from Hawaii. They were here for about 7 days, and I was able to use up 3 days worth of the credit hours I’d been saving up at work to hang out and play with them in the middle of the week. We went on lots of walks, visited the Children’s Museum, went window-shopping on the main street in our lil neighborhood, hung out at the pond near our house, and spent quite a bit of time at the playground down the street.
Learning about tools at the Children’s Museum
Finn’s brother and the kiddo at the pond
This weekend, we have no guests and no responsibilities. We’re probably going to the beach tomorrow, and then out to dinner with some friends. Oh, and later this week we’re going to a baseball game, which is pretty rad.
Next weekend I’m off to a funeral for my aunt, who died suddenly and unexpectedly last week. I’m still not really ready to talk about that. The weekend after that, Olive is getting ordained, and she and her sig other, KC, are staying with us for the week. Then the weekend after THAT, my brother and his girlfriend are coming into town for a week. Annnnnd that gets us til the end of June! Phew.