The Extra Mile

The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting that you have a problem, right? Well, here I go: I have a problem. I’m too hard on myself. I need to cut myself more slack. I need to be more laid-back, inside my mind.

I beat myself up over promises that I didn’t keep. I beat myself over the things that I ignore, or I procrastinate to avoid. I feel bad for not finishing the to-do list everyday. But sometimes, I need to force myself to take a step back, and look at the bigger picture. The to-do list was super long! How could you fit all of this in one day? You’re not even supposed to be doing any of these things– you’re getting upset about the cherry on top. You’re getting upset that you weren’t able to go the extra mile.It does upset me– not being able to finish, or go the extra mile, or put the cherry on top. I am slightly perfectionist, a little obsessive. I like things to be complete, finished, polished, perfect. I love going the extra mile– wrapping a gift with bows and ribbons instead of tossing it in a bag. Writing personal thank-you notes to every customer. Making sure all of the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. I have a hard time believing the fact that some kids my age play video games all day, or they’re just hanging with friends. For me– I have work to be done! I have life to do! And yet… Some people do less, and it’s still okay!

The pressing need to DO something, be somewhere, finish the to-do list, is sadly instilled in us from childhood. Many kids take that lesson and go to extremes– we fight constantly to keep our grades up, do great in sports, make our friends happy, keep our families proud. We raise money, we give time and energy into things, and we go, go, go! We are always on our tiptoes, at least in our mind, about what our five-year plan is, what the future looks like. In our minds, our life has been laid out like a train track. There is no other option but forward, and one small break in the rails will send us careening off into a failed life. We are always concerned about the future.

I’m slowly realizing that it’s okay to NOT be that way. That we can relax. There’s always going to be time. That driving force to DO is not always necessary. The world will not end because you broke a promise, or you didn’t add a bow to your present. If something fails, it’s not always your fault. If it is your fault, it’s okay. People make mistakes, and sometimes even your best won’t be good enough. I’d rather sacrifice perfection for the sake of peace.

This is a lesson I’m trying to learn. It’s okay to do NOTHING. It’s okay to chill, and let life do its thing. Agreed?

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