One of the things I had to let go of this year with much struggle is the need to perfect everything all the time. I wanted it so much that it led to an unnecessary control of even minor details, leading to sweating of the small stuff.
This month, in particular, I learned how to fail without permanently lodging my face in the dirt when I am wrong. I learned how to trip without feeling like it’s the end of the world. I have learned to take things a bit more lightly. Over time, humans decay and make more mistakes and become decrepit versions of their former selves. Not being able to laugh at my mistakes is a wrong and unhealthy pattern to sustain because eventually, that’s the hand everyone gets dealt with anyway.
So I let certain things slide. Just a bit, so that I won’t have a panic attack. But I still maintain the semblance of OC-ness that allows me to do my best effort. I messed up a little. I assure myself that it won’t stay that way because I’ll fix it. But first I have to acknowledge that I messed up.
When I get old, there’ll be that age where I can no longer hold my own pee, I will forget my house keys, and I can no longer write simple sentences or replicate my very own official signature in bank documents. That time, I will fail a lot. My grandkids can pretty much take me wherever and I won’t be able to oppose it that much because I am too frail and weak to do so. I can even be at the mercy of complete strangers by then, who knows?
And this is what I learned: Whatever power you gain in your youth, you lose it more quickly than you gain it. It’s fleeting and honestly, almost useless considering the number of hours many people put in or the immense amount of life energy being expended just to get a whiff of it. The mere thought of that makes me really sad sometimes.
Some failures in the present are good ways of signing you up for what ultimately lies ahead when you reach a rich old age. (Assumption: Will reach rich old age) Then, there are also failures that you’ve done more than ten times already and dammit, it’s time to let go of these mistakes. They are no longer mistakes but unhealthy life patterns.
I count myself lucky to have been exposed to open source communities. I see inspiration there. Most software systems do not get it right the first time. The developers ITERATE and introduce improvements in incremental fashion. And that similar approach is good for life, too. You will not always get it right the first time. There will always be room for improvement. AND the work is truly done only when you are.