There are so many things I attempt, so many things I should do but don’t find the time, so many things I am terrible at, that you’d think I would welcome some perfectionist tendencies when they come along. But I ask, why don’t they arrive when I’m looking at the state of my office? Or when I’m cleaning the house? Or working out (or more importantly, thinking about working out)? Or finding new work?
But no. I find perfectionist tendencies creep up on me, when all those other things are waiting to be attended to, and attach themselves to a project that is fun, creative, and totally indulgent. For the last few days, I have been amusing myself making a gift for a friend (who shall remain nameless, for obvious reasons). I had great intentions of just whipping off several little projects that would have taken me about 15 minutes in total. All the work had already been done, they just needed to be completed. (I wish I could be forthcoming – the reason for mystery is also obvious – but I will reveal everything in due course). But as I began the simple task of collecting and compiling the project, I saw some new avenues of creativity. I played with one project, creating something new, different, and if you ask me, pretty darn stunning. I was so excited by it, I turned to other, similar projects, and then more and more demanding ones. Each project went from requiring a few minutes, to several hours, half a day. My muscles seized up, carpal tunnel syndrome threatened, and my eyes started crossing. But I had to make them perfect, and continued, even as I cursed my perfectionism.
Finally, I have finished. They’re not perfect, but I like them, and I hope that they will give my friend pleasure. After all, my friend – a generous and creative soul – deserves it. Now, if only I could capitalise on this burst of uncharacteristic creativity and endeavour. Or perhaps the value is simply in my enjoyment of the process, and the joy of giving.