The Art and Follies of Recentering

If you know me, you know I love self care and personal development. In fact, I’m kind of obsessed with it. My years with depression in my late teens taught me to cherish joy and happiness in a way that I don’t believe I would have developed otherwise, and my journey to building greater emotional health and resilience has given me essential self care tools that I will always draw on. As for the personal development side of things, I can’t really account for my obsession with always learning and growing, it’s just there. When I’m without it and feeling uninspired, I’m always deeply aware that there’s something off, that some vital part of me is just beyond reach.

Unfortunately, in all of this, I have incredible knack for planning rather than doing. I can make myself a schedule like you wouldn’t believe. Implementing it? Well, tonight I’m feeling tired and a little miserable, and would probably be better served by a rewatch of Pride and Prejudice or Harry Potter. Or worse, lying in bed and scrolling through different social media feeds in an endless loop. (At least the former can be decent self care, rather than the totally indulgent and useless nature of the latter.) And on bigger projects, I’m a chronic procrastinator. Despite knowing that I would dearly miss writing after finishing my degree, I let this blog languish for a year and a half before a certain someone got my butt in gear.

The folly of constant recentering is as simple as it is ridiculous – there is something in me that, every time I can’t quite execute a plan perfectly, wants to stop, reevaluate and start over. To give myself another chance of ‘getting it right’ – or rather, ‘getting it absolutely perfect’. And accepting that there is no ‘getting it absolutely perfect’ in life, even for something as seemingly simple as nailing down a routine, is a little frustrating. Don’t even get me started on the implications of inevitable non-perfection beyond the day to day. I live in denial of this fact. I was the child who always used the undo button in solitaire to hunt for the optimal path. I can’t help but tear our the pages of old notebooks to start over for a new purpose, no matter the destruction it causes. Despite the impossibility of it all, I would much rather just be perfect from the outset. As silly as it sounds I am not wired for accepting the messiness of growing into something imperfectly.

But in some ways, despite its foolishness, there is a small gift here. The gift of being able to pause and reevaluate – where am I going? what do I want? how am I going to get there? Of finding this process satisfying and fascinating rather than boring or irritating. That feeling of renewal and steadiness that comes when you’re planning and structuring is something that is intrinsic to my ability to be at peace with the world. And I know that becoming the person that I want to be relies on that consistent working towards my goals, even if the progress is small from week to week, even if my efforts are marked with stops and starts, even if there are some dismal failures every once in a while.

So, out of this confession, now have a promise. That I will work through my procrastination and perfectionism. That I will not dismiss even a day because I wasn’t perfect the day before. The week is not lost, and each day is a new gift that we can only cherish all on its own as an opportunity to live and to grow.

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