life is really insane to me.
one day, you can have it all together. no decisions, no contemplations, bountiful with people you spend all your time with, people you see all day every day and effortlessly maintain relationships with. you sense no loss or waste, because time doesn’t seem to exist. you can have individuals that truly love you, that you have heartfelt connections with, and you can have no deep responsibilities. you can have no reason to be sad, but you are. you just are. you feel as if you are simply going through the motions. you have everything, and yet you want more out of life.
then you can be empty, weighted with tasks and time. you feel a tug to complete things, to experience things, to just go with no purpose, because you realize you won’t be here forever. you feel behind on things you have not even begun. you can be alone, and when you see people it is sparingly. rather than focus on insignificant details, you converse the big topics of life. you can ache for those times you were sad, because your sadness seems so unjustified in hindsight. but then you’ll find yourself pounding your fist onto the table and laughing wildly at something someone said, and you realize in that moment you are happy.
you find balance.
and it rarely makes sense, but life goes on.
my dad had monday off for the snow, so he cleaned the entire basement, fixed some lights, washed clothes and dishes, walked the dog, fixed a stereo, and did other various household chores.
i had today off for the snow, so i slept in until 11, had my friends come over at 12, started drinking at 1, went to red robin at 6, and stayed there until 10:45.
WHO HAD THE PRODUCTIVE SNOW DAY NOW, HUH DAD?
• good, captivating books that draw you in and don’t let you go until you’re devastated, finger hesitant, on turning the last page.
jk, 2 hour delay. i’ll still take it. too bad i can’t sleep now though.
my dad got today off, though. lucky bastard.
it’s 4:07 am and unfortunately there’s too much going on upstairs to sleep.
I know there was a laugh track on for some of this, but honestly it made me cry.
i’m pretty certain the worst thing for perfectionists are choices.
it all boils down to control, which for perfectionists (in my personal experiences,) is the staple of the condition.
there are certain realms in life, all of which have boundaries containing conditions that, once established, are typically easy to manipulate. this presents a sort of semblance of control, and therefore, makes life a little more livable.
for example, childhood is the most basic of these boundaries. every action within your life is dictated by a seemingly omnipresent structural force that is your parent(s). good or bad, meal times, and recreational activities are delivered by them, meaning that as an individual, you have very little control.
this is nice because it takes the choices out of the equation, and when you are able to manipulate the system even slightly, it gives you the most abundant sense of control and success. when you are able to choose a tv show to watch, or which friend you would like spend your time with, or even pick a meal, you feel very in control of your own life, and therefore very happy within yourself because you were able to make these decisions. as for consequences, you know if you do something outside the boundaries of your parental guidance you will be reprimanded. but the rules are in place and therefore you know what to do and what not to do without over thinking the implications on your development, because this omnipresent force bears the weight of responsibility.
these boundaries expand with age, therefore resulting in periods of distress and panic for the perfectionist, as they are met with responsibilities and conditions they do not have immediate understanding or control over. this leads to attempts to control other aspects in their lives, which can be productive, but most often are self-harmful.
when advancing your education, the box becomes more overwhelming, but once you figure out how to manipulate the system, it’s only stressful as to the weight you place on various factors contributing to the outcome. for instance, for tests and grades, a perfectionist will often place assignments off until the last minute, therefore finding the ability to place the blame of a poor grade (if it occurs) on the factor of time, assuring themselves that with more time they would have been able to perform better. this is both reassuring and helps with the stress of needing to be in control. there also aren’t too many degrees of success. simply take the hardest classes, and excel in them. that’s how you succeed in an academic setting. there aren’t a huge extension of possibilities to achieve success, it’s laid out for you, and easy to understand.
other things that come with age are friendships, free time, and taking care of yourself. friendships begin to become stressful because you realize you cannot control other people’s lives. their emotions and decisions are within their own realm, and when someone is mad at you, has feelings for you, or has options or opinions that differ from your own constraints it can become difficult to understand, or handle the situation. this leads to dodging conflict, emotions, or confrontation of any sort, which is a manipulation of this boundary. in my best attempts to maintain control within my freetime, i delved into time-consuming after school activities, which were reassuringly within the boundaries of my current age because of the strong suggestion to engage in extra-curriculars in order to get into college. these were rules set in place that allowed me reassurance. the fact that they were time consuming also gave me indication i was doing something impacting and purposeful. it also gave me the freedom to feel as if i was not wasting my free time, giving me the illusion of control of time. nights that i over exerted myself by going to school, going to practice, running errands after practice, and staying up late to complete assignments, forgoing sleep, allowed me to think i was in the ultimate control, because i could manipulate the rules of circadian rhythm. i could do all of these things. it felt good. lastly, learning that you can consume food when and to quantities of your decision leads to the realization you are in control of your body and health to a degree, and can lead to eating disorders.
college comes, and the options widen. however, your academic performance, economical situation, and suggestions by more authority figures remove some of the overall control you have of the situation and make it reassuring. it closes the boundaries, making you feel a little safe. sure you can choose where you go, but sometimes you don’t have that many options.
life at this point is still on a track. you age, you advance in school, you continue to advance in school.
however, college lets you choose where exactly you want the rest of your life to go, career wise. it also lets you choose exactly what you eat, how you spend your time, where you live, and who you associate with, all over again. the boundaries you had in place diminish and the development of new walls leads to mental pacing and over calculation. did i pick the right major? will i get a good job? will my extra circulars help me? do i have enough money? do i like my friends? how can i gain new friends? did i use this time wisely? ect. ect. the implication of every action becomes overwhelming, and personally lead me into bouts of confusion and critical reevaluation of every decision i had made. it was not a great time. however, boundaries were still in place. i still had deadlines, assignments, and tasks i could use to manipulate my schedule. i could still load up on extra studying and activities to fill my time. some of the options were overwhelming, and so i chose none, which was a poor decision in hindsight. the free time was isolating.
post graduate is the absolute furthest my boundaries have been stretched. as you age you become less ignorant, less naive, and more aware of life’s pitfalls. you want to manipulate your conditions, but you don’t know how to go about it. things are a lot more hazy and a lot less clear cut. you want to engage in friendships and surround yourself with people, but at the same time you want to isolate yourself. there are too many options, and it is terrifying. your sense of self becomes stretched and stressed. existentialism is unavoidable. how can we better ourselves while also bettering this world that we live in? what is meaningful? what sort of things and people actually provide happiness and comfort? how do i know i am where i’m supposed to be? how do i eliminate this thought process? i could live where ever i wanted, i can work where ever i wanted, i am now the adult in control. because of this crushing overwhelming sense and lack of direction, i chose familiarity and decided to live at home, work close to home, and create familiar boundaries for myself instead of expanding my horizons. i can’t compartmentalize, i can’t figure out the implications of my actions, and i have no idea where i’ll be in ten years. it’s crippling. sure my boundaries now include payments, a work schedule, and time restraints, the boundaries don’t actually exist. they’re simply illusionary boundaries intended to protect my sanity. i have a job, so i have to be at work from 9-5. but i could quit my job and have no security. i live at home but i could move and live literally anywhere. i could explore. i could go poor. and i’m working on shedding the perfectionism, because it’s the only thing that’s actually putting my life in these boxes.
if i can relieve the need to control, then life’s doors can open. but it’s a paradox wanting to open the door, and yet feeling safe with the door shut.
life is scary. perfectionism is crippling. i hope i can let go.