The Cost of Perfectionism - My Journey pt. 2 (Junior Year + Changes)

Hey y'all,

(I never say hey y'all in real life... funny)

Anyways so yes, here is a blog post, delivered to you on a Thursday (NOT a Sunday, gasp), and that is simply because when I was writing this blog post it ended up being so gosh darn long that I decided to split it into two parts. It split very nicely between my last post, which was a summary of how perfectionism has impacted my life in different ways from when I was little up until recently.

Today, I want to share you with you the missing piece. The part about where I am now, junior year. Things are a lot different now and it makes sense for it to be in a separate post. As I will elaborate on, I think my perfectionist side will always be a part of me, but I've really been able to keep it from impacting my life too much this year. In what was a really deep sort of journaling session for me, I explain what has changed that has made it this way. I hope you find something relatable in this blog post, and that you enjoy reading...

11th grade

Whew, we're on to junior year.

Junior year found me really getting my sh!t together in terms of time management, taking charge of my own happiness, and also investing time into what makes me ME.

Now, the year sure wasn't (and isn't) perfect. These days, when my inner perfectionist tries to creep out of the corner I keep driving it into, it manifests itself as this little bugger that is always examining whether I'm being productive, whether I'm working on the most important thing, whether I'm making the BEST possible use of my time.

So perfectionism is a beast I still haven't tamed. BUT I can say with confidence that where I am now in terms of managing it is the best I've ever been in my life. Let's examine why:

1. I've established healthy eating and exercise habits.

I have a better relationship with my body and am much more willing to give it rest (especially when I'm on vacation). Learning how to simply enjoy exercise has provided me with a stress outlet, a fun way to spend my free time, and a confidence boost.

2. I've gotten so much better at doing less work for school.

Yikes, don't show this to my teachers. But honestly, I realized that it didn't make sense to strive for perfection if a 90% (89.5% to be exact) constitutes an "A". I've been realizing where I'm putting all of this unnecessary effort. For example, in freshman year, I confused my finals schedule and went into my history final having done no reviewing. I still got a near-perfect score. This year, I didn't study one bit for a math quiz and got 100%. School is no longer the focal point of my life because it no longer makes SENSE for it to be the focal point. I have figured out how to manage my time in class wisely and I now have a lot more time to set aside towards my passions.

3. I've dropped things that no longer serve me.

I'd spent most of my life trying to do ALL the things. And then I got a taste of the liberating feeling of saying "no" to things. First, I dropped orchestra, which no longer got me excited and took up a whole credit. Then, for my junior year schedule, I decided to opt for the easy history class over AP US History. I'm convinced it's the best decision I made all of last year. When faced with putting together a senior year schedule, I first dipped my toe in by deciding to take AP Stats instead of a college math class, then went all-in and decided to not take any math at all. And I am SO excited. Instead, I am taking a semester of Photo 2 and a full year of Video 2 and that just makes my heart happy. Soon, I'll be faced with a big decision about dropping something else that has been a big part of my life, which I'll talk more about once I make that decision.

4. I jumped headfirst into my passions.

Whereas sophomore year I felt very unfulfilled by what I was doing, junior year has been the total reverse. I have a communications internship, I lay out the school newspaper, I've opened myself up to opportunities to make videos, I STARTED THIS BLOG (I just went and took a peek at my first blog post, hahaha). These are all things I wouldn't have thought I could make time for, but I did, and thank goodness I did.

5. I've started on the path to a future that is right for me.

If there's anything that a perfectionist knows very well, it's that very nicely drawn out plan of perfect grades, well-rounded extracurriculars, standardized tests, college applications, university, career. It's what we have been promised by our teachers and counselors all along. Do well in school and this life will be yours! *cue game show lights and sound effects* Now, I am not saying that this is the wrong way to go. There IS no wrong way to go because everyone's life is different.

But dropping my perfectionism made me realize that this was not the path I wanted to take. I'm very early in the journey, but I can see my future more clearly than I have ever before. I know I want to take a gap year to travel, and I want to find ways to support myself financially using my creative passions and the Internet. The thought of that truly lights my soul on fire and gives me the energy I need to enjoy every day and every week of my life.

6. I spend more quality time with myself and the people I love.

Journaling has been a lifesaver for me. It's a way to empty my mind and to have a conversation with myself, in a way. We all need a pep talk sometimes and sometimes you need to be the one that gives yourself that pep talk. So I've learned to spend some quality alone time that rejuvenates me when I'm feeling scattered.

My family has established a Sunday family night routine that relaxes me before the beginning of each new week, and I'm more open to things like spontaneous trips to the sledding hill.

I have friends in my life whom I can't wait to see after a few days apart because being around them makes me SO happy. We support each other and give each other advice and perhaps most importantly, we make each other laugh, so so hard.

At the center of all of this? Self-care. Because these things didn't happen on accident. They happened slowly, but they happened because I willed them to happen. I actively worked to fight my eating problems. I worked to start this blog. I made the decision for myself to cut out things that weren't serving me anymore. So yes, self-care is chamomile tea and evening walks and good books. But self-care is also taking charge of our own lives and making sure we build an existence that gives us happiness and fulfillment.

I know this is a deeper post than what I normally write. But I think it's important not only so that you can get to know who I really am, but for me to pull together all of these things I know about myself into one story, in a way I never have before.

I thank you for joining me on this March journey of self-care and wish you all the happiness in the world. Go out there and be amazing :)

How have you changed throughout your life that has put you on the path to where you want to be?