Frozen (No, Not the Movie)

I'm taking a break from my series on personal values tonight to discuss the angst my perfectionism sometimes creates. Living in the brain of a perfectionist is really tough and can leave you feeling frozen. We don't value process, only result. This inevitably puts pressure on every endeavor (however small), to bring about the expected result and in a timely, quantitative manor. When you add in my care-taking tendencies, any kind of personal development efforts become very uncomfortable. I want to grow, but I don't want to wait. I want to branch out and take risks, but only if I can see how they benefit others, leaving any personal gratification as a nice byproduct. This is why it was a big deal when I went kayaking. It was something that was just for me (and Danna) and it was just for fun. I didn't earn any money, I didn't improve my health (unless you count the exercise), and it did not directly benefit my family (although I came home happy). These seem to by my criteria for venturing out: financial gain, improvement of health (so I can keep taking care of everyone else) or some obvious benefit to my family. Yikes. How sad is that?
These feelings are cropping up tonight because I peeked into the life of someone else and I was left wanting. I saw her heart on a page and it was beautiful. And I wanted the pieces of my puzzle to fit together to look like hers. Does that ever happen to you? You see someone at the end of a long journey and want to be where they are, rather than in the middle of yours? Maybe it's the youngest child in me or the perfectionist, but I don't want to go through the work. I want to be able to do it easily or not at all. Boy, does that limit me! 
It makes me tremendously sad, these feelings on nights like tonight. I want to believe in myself enough to know that my puzzle will look beautiful too. It may look a lot like hers and it may not at all. I want to be the kind of person who is encouraged by the success and story of another, knowing they're someone who I have a lot in common with, someone who is a comrade, not a threat. Maybe this comes from a feeling of scarcity*, that if she finds her calling, that somehow there will be less left for me. I know in my heart, that's not true. That one person's personal success does not disqualify me from having my own. 
I've always felt a little caught off guard by my peers who have "for real" careers. I went to a great college and sometimes it hits me anew that I know people MY AGE who somehow ended up becoming doctors, lawyers, professors, activists (you get the idea). I always feel this weird paranoia, like, "when was the conference on how to have a grown-up career and what was I doing instead?" I mean, do people really know how to do their jobs? And if so, HOW, exactly? When did everyone become something? Can I become something? I see the end results around me and wonder what my "in process" state will lead to. Is it leading somewhere? I'm honestly wondering, guys. 
I want to feel like each season of my life matters, that this time at home raising small children, going to therapy, writing, being in relationship, processing my theology and taking risks (I'm taking an art class right now!) has a significant purpose. I know that it does. And, despite everything I just said, I'm not wishing it away. I'm so happy to have my sweet little girls and I know I will treasure these years. I've never been one of those people who was really career-minded. I always figured I'd dabble. I'm not someone who was going to be one thing forever, and frankly, I prefer that (perhaps that's the globe-trotter in me, never stay too long in one place). 
I feel like this is a season of preparation. For what, I don't know, exactly. Maybe I just need to be patient. Ha! That's a good one. But no, seriously, I'm curious to see what my final product will look like. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
*This idea of scarcity is a common reason for what I see as American greed. Maybe that'll come up in a post on personal values soon.