Well, I’m doing it. I’m going to post about one of the things you don’t talk about when starting a blog: Perfection. Perfection in life’s phases. Perfection in expectations for yourself and your goals. And, yes, perfection in making a blog. To be more specific; striving for perfection. I didn’t want to bring this up so soon in fear of people intentionally looking for the flaws in my blog or thinking it’s unprofessional, which it’s not. I’ve worked hard on this and I’m proud of what I’ve done so far…BUT I feel as if I have to bring it up. It has been front and center in my mind lately and a reoccurring topic of conversation. I want this blog to BE relatable, and the only way to do that is to be honest. So here we are. Welcome to “Timing and Perfection: The Just Do It Version.”
Nothing I’ve ever done or ever will do is going to be perfect. I repeat, nothing I’ve ever done or ever will do is going to be perfect. Whew. There, I said it. With that being said, that doesn’t mean I won’t try my hardest. Before I had this small epiphany (which I’ve had several times before but need to remind myself of) I was in a continual state of waiting. Waiting for conditions to be perfect. Conditions that I couldn’t even control. Just waiting. And guess what? Things never happened.
Signing up for that race you’ve always wanted to do or that hard exercise program? Dooo it. I recently signed myself up for a 10k in September and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the thought “You can’t do this” is replayed over in my head quite frequently. Growing up in school I was almost always dead last finishing the mile run. When I first started training using my “Couch to 10k” App I felt: A) Out of shape B) Shin pain C) Doubt or D) All of the above. Yes. It’s D. What if it’s really hot the day of the race? Or my shoes aren’t cool and comfy? Or I’m the slowest one ever in the history of the universe? Here’s where I provide myself with a mental pep talk by thinking of my very first 5K experience.
Due to the fact that I always finished last in school I had a great fear of finishing this last. So I trained my big butt off. Literally. I got my friend Zac to run with me and he enlisted our friend Rob. The day of the race I planned my morning out to a T. Breakfast 2 hours before running so I don’t cramp up? Check. Vitamins? Taken. Outfit? On point. I was ready to go before I even needed to, which is rare for me. Even when I got the call from Zac letting me know he was running late I didn’t panic. I just drove over to the race and got the map and numbers situated. When I heard the gunshot go off after all of the racers lined up at the starting line and Zac still wasn’t there? I panicked. My worst fear of being last was coming true, even after all of the things I did to prepare myself otherwise.
“Excuse me, miss, are you waiting for someone?” The lady from the registration table asked.
“Yes, they’ll be here soon,” I said.
“Well, I hope so,” she said as her eyes froze on mine, “We have people working as crossing guards and they can’t block the roads all day.” She turned and headed to set up for the finish line. Up until that moment I was so concerned with being last that the thought of not being able to finish never even crossed my mind. Now I only wanted one thing and that was to finish the race. And that was it. I looked up and I saw Zac’s red car rushing into the parking lot. I grabbed his race number and ran toward it. The passenger side door opened first and Rob, with his perfectly centered and groomed Mohawk, jumped out and started somewhat stretching. Zac’s door opened a bit slower as he tried to lift his aviator sunglasses up to see but then promptly lowered them back on his face.
“Ugh. I had a lot of tequila last night,” he said as he slowly stood up. His outfit was a blackest of black Misfits t-shirt along with black jean shorts. Oh, and I should mention that it was mid-August. I stared at him for a second and finally managed a “I hate you” followed by “Is that what you’re wearing?”
“Yeah, I got my shoes for running so I’m good.”
I raised my left eyebrow.
“Let’s DO this!” he said as he tried to stretch and pin on his number as we all walked to the starting line. I could only think about finishing. The fact that Zac might die from heat exhaustion was also a looming thought, but it passed quickly as we started to jog. Rob set the pace, which was a bit faster than my normal one, but I figured that was a good thing. Hopefully we make up for some of the lost time even if we are dead last. We made some small talk as we approached the first street we had to cross. Rob saw the crossing guard and pumped his hands up in the air above his head and said, “We’re winning! YAY!”
The guard broke down laughing and my mood started to lift. This might actually even be fun. In the short distance near the edge of the park there was a group of a few onlookers starting to disband. As we neared, one of the guys watching yelled out, “Nice Mohawk!”
And without skipping a beat Rob replied, “Thanks! It’s for better aerodynamics!” The man smiled and then laughed along with us.
Somewhere between my parents jumping out of the trees to surprise me and cheer me on and Zac and Rob’s “Muppet Run” to the finish line my happiness grew and my worries disappeared. (Also: Wondering what a Muppet Run is? It’s where you literally run with your limbs completely limp and swinging as if detached from your body like an actual Muppet. I shortened my stride in fear of being hit with a flying arm as we crossed the finish line.)
So many years of mine were lived in fear of looking stupid while trying to be physically active. That day they melted away as I realized that the same girl that only could barely jog one mile just finished a 3 mile run. (Even if it was next to two guys running like Muppets.) Throwing out my perfect expectations of myself actually had me feeling pleasantly surprised. I wouldn’t have said it to him that day, but looking back I’m glad Zac got there when he did. It forced me to forget my learned habit of sucking the joy out of things by worrying too much or planning things just so. That day I let go of all of my preconceived notions about running a race and was happy just to finish something I set out to do, which left me open to receive and appreciate the joy in the little moments that day. My worst fear came true, and you know what? I lived. I was okay. I was more than okay, I was happy.
With signing up for the 10k I can’t help but to look at the big picture and get overwhelmed by it. So you know what I’m going to do? Take it one day at a time. I’m not going to look at the big picture until I get there.
This is the same thing that applies to many of us over a span of many different things. Take weddings, having children, or starting blogs for example. How many times have I heard that someone should or shouldn’t have a wedding a certain time of year because the conditions have to be just right? Perfect weather or the perfect dress or the perfect cake or the perfect month? This applies especially when it comes to having a child. I’m guilty of this one! I’ll tell you every excuse of why this INSTANT is not a good time and how things need to be just perfect for me to have a baby. I’m not skinny enough to have room to grow. How are we going to afford a kid? How do we add this load onto this other load of things to do? And on and on. (I feel like the voice in my head is a jerk.) I have to apply the same thinking of a 10K to babies and relationships by not focusing on absolutely everything the big picture entails. Just take it one day at a time. Conditions are NEVER going to be perfect and I’m definitely not getting any younger waiting around for them to be. To be honest, this is part of what I feel like my blog entails. Almost Her. Almost perfect, but not.
I lived through this negative mentality when my blog was just a thought and nothing else. I can’t start a blog now, I thought, I don’t have everything I need for it to be perfect and I only want to show people if it’s perfect! I thought this way for months!! Like I said before, nothing happened. My blog didn’t even start because I didn’t have the right camera. It didn’t start because I didn’t know where to start. It didn’t start because I didn’t know how to even use Photoshop. It didn’t start because I didn’t have “my own domain name.” IT DIDN’T DO ANYTHING!! So here I am, pouring out my thoughts on here using a phone camera and a free blog site so something would happen. So that I could start finally do something I’ve been wanting to for years but used excuses to put off indefinitely. I’m not telling you to go run off and get married if you’re not ready. I’m not telling you to go off and have a baby right this instant because there are very legit reasons people wait for a certain time. I’m just saying that if it’s something you really WANT to do…DO it! Don’t wait for things to be perfect because it’ll never happen. And even if we feel like we achieved the “perfect condition” it’s only a matter of time before we go on to the next big thing to where conditions are no longer ideal. So here’s giving the middle finger to that little voice in our heads telling us we can’t and locking him up in a box away from our thoughts. I found this quote that says it beautifully, “Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect.” So this is me encouraging anyone that reads this to stop this mental torment and go for what they really want whether it be running a race, a baby, a wedding, a relationship, a blog, a dream, writing a song, or getting that pair of amazing shoes…or a video game if you are Dan…Just take things one day at a time. =)