Perfection is the enemy of the good

It’s disconcerting to me when someone calls me out, especially when by virtue of time spent in my company they have no business knowing me this well.
Well … I got an unsolicited piece of advice the other night while out drinking. It turns out to be, probably, just exactly what I need right now. We all know I don’t do moderation. So I’m now going to try and be more conscious of fighting my perfectionist tendencies. There’s actually not enough time for them.
I had been in a royal funk all week. Getting over illness, and not really being able to push myself forward the way I wanted. Brain in a fog, just nothing going according to plan. And of course, not eating well because my self-control isn’t very good when I’m feeling sorry for myself.
But the other thing, of course, is that with great power comes great responsibility. It’s also true that the higher the stakes, the more each little decision matters.
It’s like I was telling John when we were at the wing joint in Wyoming or wherever it was, and there was this popcorn in the middle of the table and he kept eating it then idly wondered why he couldn’t stop eating it. Easy: he hadn’t made a commitment to stop. It tasted good, and there was no compelling reason for him to stop: he wasn’t allergic, or training for a competition, or on a diet. So in the absence of an explicit commitment, we just keep doing what we do.
Inertia is a powerful thing. I think this is the hardest step in change, once you realise you want to change, is making that plan and that commitment. Sometimes you know what to do but just keep telling yourself ‘I’ll start tomorrow.’ Well, tomorrow never comes until you make it.
Although it is a bit hard when your pre-frontal cortex is tired. Or when you’re sick. Or when you’re just down in the dumps.
Wednesday was Halloween and I was just SO not into it. I played along because my friends were quite into it, and I wound up having a good time. But mainly my head just wasn’t in the right place, because I didn’t feel like having a good time. I managed to rally, though. Plus my costume was super fun, and Susan took great pleasure in the fact that by the measure of how much attention I got, my costume was by far the best. I was a bunch of grapes. And I had straight hair which was great fun for me, but that was only because I’d had my hair cut earlier in the day by a fascinating, outspoken, business owner. Wow people can get emotional over elections.
On Thursday, I got to get a tour of Susan’s medical school campus, including such things as the café that makes sandwiches on gluten-free bread (soooo not paleo …. But I hadn’t had a reuben in years and I enjoyed every bite!), and the inside of a classroom, and the bone room, and Children’s Hospital.
Then we drove to Colorado Springs, where she used to live and where I had visited very briefly a few years back when I used to work for Exit41. That city is absolutely stunning. Not sure how I was there for a day and never noticed …. But I was there for a day and never noticed. I noticed this time.
We started with a workout at Pikes Peak CrossFit, which was even higher altitude than Denver. It was a thruster ladder with burpees in between. Oh my heavens. I tried to take it easy. But here’s what happens: you get winded, then your muscles don’t get oxygen, then you wind up wondering why all of a sudden 3 thrusters at 95 pounds feels heavy. I mean … that last thruster at 115 pounds felt like about 135. Sickening. Who knew, you needed oxygen to your muscles to be able to lift heavy weights?
But fun. It’s quite interesting, this training at altitude may be rough but it’s also super fun because it’s a new sort of challenge. I’m used to knowing what my body is capable of …. But this is new! In a way I feel just as out of shape as when I first started CrossFit, and that’s probably the closest analogy I have, because back then I was strong but lacking in cardio capacity, which is basically what happens to me, here. Still, die though I did, I felt so much better after training. Nothing like endorphins to lift you out of a funk!
After the workout we had a beautiful dinner of trout almondine followed by a fun Irish pub where I got to meet some of her friends. The next morning we woke up early early and went to hike The Incline. This “hike” aka stairway to heaven at the foot of Pike’s Peak starts at something like 6,000 feet of elevation and ends at 8,000 feet or so. The pictures don’t really do it justice. It’s … daunting. And I say this as someone who is not daunted. The air is pretty thin up there, and it was horrible, but horrible in a way I was expecting so it was fine. I even did 10 burpees at the top, then we jogged most of the way back down the hill.
The hike was followed by eating a gigantic plate of food at this awesome diner in a purple castle. Amazing. And some really good coffee. Happiness in food form. I am so glad that I got to stay in Colorado longer. It’s very beautiful here, and an amazing combination of Rockies and American west. I actually really, really like it here. I’m also discovering that I’m a mountain girl, not an ocean girl, if you make me choose. But if there are no mountains, I get very sad.
Speaking of letting things get to you, I was overhearing one of Susan’s friends at the bar going on about his love life. I wasn’t trying to listen, but he was drunk and being loud. It was interesting because he’s clearly a nice guy, in this particular situation he was being “friend-zoned” (I couldn’t help but think of what Motheo would have had to say!), but then he was going off about how he was just going to start being selfish, and even went so far later as to claim he was an asshole. Far from it, and I told him as much.
It’s the same concept as claiming you don’t want to get into Harvard because it’s just a stuck up rich school anyway. You’re sensitive, you get hurt, so your new knee-jerk reaction is to pretend you don’t care, and then you put up this shield. I actually don’t think I have ever heard a guy claim he was an asshole who wasn’t, actually, the exact opposite but trying to hide it. The real assholes don’t know they’re assholes.
Speaking of, I also did my homework, made my decisions in the local elections, and cast my absentee ballot. This was more homework than I’d ever done in the past. This is the problem with voting; too many people cast uninformed votes. Well, it could be worse. At least most of the population is semi-educated and literate which isn’t the case in a lot of the world. I suppose that is an elitist statement but so be it. I do tend to think that you should at least understand your candidate before you should cast a vote.
It wasn’t planned but I am kind of happy that I will be in this country for this election. Next week is going to be another stressful but fun whirlwind of activity.
It’s breaking my heart a little bit not to be in Cape Town. Damn heart, why must you be so fragile? It should be more like the lungs, the more you stress it the harder it gets. Haha, that wasn’t what I meant but in light of the above, it’s amusing and I’m keeping it.
Who says we can’t control our own future, anyway? I’m definitely going to make lemonade out of lemons.
  • “I concede, and am duly impressed.” – Michael (I beat him to the punch on Twitter)
  • “Good luck staying sober.” – Henk
  • “Do you really think Lehman Brothers is going to save you?” – hair stylist
  • “Did you just say ‘oooh a ranch!’?” – Susan
  • “That was kind of awesome.” “That was kind of stupid. Which I guess is kinda the same thing.” – Susan
  • “Who needs drunk when you have delirious?” – Susan
  • “I’m a little bit scared now.” – Ellie
  • “No one would ever say that our lives are boring.” – Susan
  • “Being away is opening your eyes in a way that being there would not.” – Craig
  • “At the end of the day, they own their own success.” – Craig

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