For years now I have had a recurring dream. I am back at high school. There is an exam tomorrow and I haven’t studied at all. Sometimes I haven’t been to a single class in that subject. Sometimes I hadn’t even realized I was enrolled in the subject.
I am enraged at my own subconscious when I wake up from this dream.
What are you trying to tell me? That I’m not trying hard enough?
When will I have convinced myself that I’ve put in a solid effort in life? Just thinking about it makes me tired and sad.
I have spent most of my adult life living in countries where I didn’t grow up, trying to make it all work while being perpetually just outside my comfort zone. I am a parent to two little girls. This year I went back to work as a lawyer. I can read and write Japanese. Last month I rang a car mechanic and in Finnish asked for an appointment to have the tyres on my car changed.
Why have I convinced myself that this, my life, is a poor effort?
I admit, sometimes I do aim for an “adequate” performance rather than a job well done. I am sloppy with my foreign languages. I don’t try as hard as I possibly could at all times with my kids or my husband. There is plenty of room for improvement in my work-related skill-set. I snack too much and don’t exercise enough. I should call my parents more often. I never put my dirty dishes straight into the dishwasher and my ironing pile continues to rage out of control.
The list is endless.
Yet, even if I were a serial perfectionist, it wouldn’t help. I’ve had this dream even at times in my life where I was trying my absolute best; aiming for excellence across the board.
At this point, I’m tired. I’m just so tired.