I am a textbook example of a perfectionist. And it sucks. Perfectionism is my obsession that grabs my throat every now and then.
It is Friday morning, the first day of my new life when I have truly nothing to do. I have a few minor administrative duties at work next week, and a longer programming task with a loose deadline, but yesterday I decided to give myself a long weekend that includes today. Sophie went to work early morning. I woke up with her, but I went back to sleep after she had left. By the time I woke up again it was almost noon.
I found some interesting contradictions about my behavior under pressure. I remember the times from my childhood when I played the accordion, and I had to play on every possible occasion and celebration in our village. Since there were not many children around who were playing on instruments, playing in an orchestra or a band were not possible. There was only me, playing in solo, sitting on a chair on the stage by myself, with my accordion in my hands. I often had to play in front of hundreds of people in the theater room of the town. I can still recall that anxious feeling that made my stomach turn, the heart palpitations, and the unbearable nervousness that accompanied me before the performances. I didn’t like it. I hated being on the stage all alone, and I was always terrified of it, sometimes more, sometimes less. I never admitted to myself for years how I felt about it, I just did it because I felt I had to. I considered it a challenge that I simply had to face over and over again.
I feel like I need a fresh start and a complete renewal from time to time, every few years, to feel a total freedom to start everything all over again. Just like what I have now. I experienced this after I came home from my university studies abroad, then a few years later when I quit my job and had a heart surgery because of my inborn heart arrhythmia. I could start everything all over, with a clean sheet. I had no goals, I had no plans, only wanted to solve the issue of my heart condition, then start a new life.
I woke up this morning extremely nervous and anxious, with thoughts about my job running wild in my head. I couldn’t get over yesterday’s meeting when I had to realize that we wouldn’t be able to deliver our promises to a customer of mine because certain key people were moved from my project to more important ones. It knocked me out right then and there, mostly because I got another unexpected problem and burden to handle, that broke my dreams about having a comfortable letting go of my tasks and projects in the remaining days.
Today I was thinking about all the things that cause me problems and headaches lately. Some of these might have always been present (mostly unnoticed), but the events of the last period dredged them up through making me more sensitive and unstable. Other issues might be entirely new in my life, I don’t know.
I was already very deep down yesterday evening, after working the whole weekend to prepare an offer that I knew we couldn’t win. I was complaining for hours about it to my girlfriend, Sophie. Then I woke up extremely nervous today morning. I prepared myself for the day and meditated a little. I was thinking about whether I should go to work or stay home. I changed my mind every minute, but finally, I sat into my car and drove to the office. I knew there will be an official supervision on a project of mine, that made my stomach turn, because I knew the difference between reality and what we communicated about the project, just to get the necessary funding. When I was walking from my car to the office, I stopped again and thought about going back home. All my muscles were in a cramp. I was nauseous and dizzy from thinking about the things that were waiting for me this day. My body was resisting entering the building and spending there another day. I turned around and walked back to my car. I imagined going home, sending a message that I was sick, and staying in bed for a week in a fetal pose, eating pizza, not talking to anyone, being isolated from society and the world. That was what my body and soul wanted. But after a few steps back to my car, I suddenly turned around and entered the building, against all my desires.