Define Perfect

You may not know it if you’ve been to my house lately, but I’m a perfectionist. I will correct your grammar, tuck in your visible clothing tags and offer to groom your crazy eyebrows. I’m fine with change, but I like knowing that if something has my mark on it, I’ve done my best. This is one reason my storage closets are where old beauty products and tools go to die. If something works better than what I’m currently using, I have to have it. This usually comes at the cost of the cluttered graveyard of all products that have gone before.

Yesterday I had my interim review. For the past few years I’ve been immersing myself in MS access and VBA while being given all of the broken databases to fix. I was never trained. I just jumped in and learned. Now people are asking me their Access questions. It’s a goal of mine to learn as many programming languages as I can, so I indicated that and my Manager agreed. My next project is in C#.

I’ll be honest. I was a Technical Writer for so long that I got caught in a loop. I had no idea how to grow from there. My boss at the time took notice when I was finding so many bugs in the applications I documented that he suggested I try writing code. Who would have thought I’d enjoy it?

It really changes your outlook on the world when you’re given an opportunity for growth like that… knowing that every day you come to work, you’ll be challenged and learn something new. I used to struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I was unchallenged and growing complacent. Most of my energy was spent on my side hustle(s). I managed and fronted a band for almost 4 years and I’ve been a freelance makeup artist since 1999.

I put myself through Esthetician School when I felt it was time to take a hiatus from playing music live. I was exhausted. All of the marketing, website, newsletter, booking, calendar, music distribution (MP3 and sheet music), rehearsal space… pretty much everything was being handled solely by me. I spent late nights drafting newsletters, downloading MP3s and searching for sheet music. I got up early send out invites, draft Facebook posts and update our website. By the end my health was suffering. Having school as an excuse to put the band on hiatus was exactly what I needed.

Even in Esthetician School, I worked full-time and was a full-time student. But it also re-ignited that perfectionist fire in me. I graduated with straight A’s at the top of my class. I even got to wear an honor cord on my robe. To me, this brought out a lot of things that had been lying dormant. I was excited to graduate. I was excited to pass the exam and hold a license. I became excited about everything.

My enthusiasm must have been detected by my Manager, as his comments on my review were so good I told him that when I read them I wanted to hug his neck, but I’d spare him. He laughed and told me that I’d been doing very well and that he was looking for ways to get me promoted. This, of course, only contributes to my growing enthusiasm. As I sit here waiting for the IT guy to load my new software, I can’t help but think how far I’ve come.

But having perfectionist tendencies doesn’t always serve one well. It’s nice to have the lofty daydream of what you’d like your life to be like, but at some point it needs to intersect with reality. As little girls we all dream of finding the perfect person, having a perfect wedding with all of our friends as attendants, living in the perfect house… By comparison reality seems like a cruel joke. It’s up to us whether we dwell, laugh it off, or bridge the gap between what we want and what we choose to accept.

Never settle.

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