It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect

So, I’ve been gone from the blog for awhile.  I could give you the big long story about what happened, and why, and how, and what I was doing instead, but ultimately?  It’s not actually important.  The details aren’t important.  What happened, in broad strokes, is this: I found myself struggling to take care of myself, to stick to my training plan, and when I realized that I couldn’t complete my plan “perfectly,” I stopped trying at all.  I couldn’t stay on top of working out 5-6 times per week, I couldn’t stick to my planned early-morning wake-ups, I couldn’t make it to my yoga classes, so I stopped doing anything at all – including blogging, because I felt like I couldn’t bring myself to publicly admit to all of the ways in which I was failing, and my failures were looming so big in my mind that I couldn’t come up with anything else to blog about, so I just didn’t blog at all.  But here’s what I’ve figured out as I’ve started climbing out of the failure-spiral – doing something imperfectly, incompletely, at less-than-the-ideal speed/distance/time, is ALWAYS better than doing nothing.

          This is a hard concept for me – as a classic overachiever, I was raised on the idea that “if you’re going to do something, do it right.”  And I understand why people say that – it sounds like it makes sense.  After all, why would anyone intentionally set out to do something wrong?  But here’s the insidious part of that philosophy – too often, when teachers/ parents/ bosses/ coaches/ whoever are telling us to “do it right,” what they’re telegraphing (whether they mean to or not) is “do it perfectly.”  And for someone like me, someone who has deeply internalized issues with perfectionism anyway, that message – that we need to “do it perfectly or don’t do it at all,” that anything not done perfectly isn’t just imperfect but is actually wrong – has the potential to paralyze me (and has paralyzed me at various points in my life, including in the last month or two).
          But is my run really not worth doing just because I can only fit in two miles instead of four?  Is it really not worth it to do a 20 minute yoga DVD at home because I messed up my schedule and missed my class?  Well, when looking at all of that written out, I’m realizing how ridiculous it sounds – not running at all because I was supposed to run four miles and can only run two makes no sense.  Not practicing yoga because I missed class is absurd.  Not bothering to make a healthy dinner because I overindulged at lunch is nonsensical.  Something is always better than nothing.
          So here I am, writing and publishing a blog post even though I don’t feel like this is the “perfect” entry, even though I’m not 100% sure what I’m trying to say or how this fits into the bigger picture of building this blog.  Here I am, revising my training plan and race schedule to match up with where I am now, instead of where I “should” be, fitness-wise and schedule-wise.  Here I am doing something.

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