Since elementary school, I learned all about 100%. It was a a goal to strive for when we took a test and of course there was a level of percentage that was considered not good enough. Beyond the teacher’s standards, everyone had their own personal “ok mark.” For some, that magic number was 70, for others it was 90 and for a few, it was great to get a 50! I remember hearing kids saying things like “Well, at least I got half of it right.” Now, as an adult with the majority of schooling behind me, I am still striving for 100% and if I don’t make it…I wonder… what is my magic number?
Is wanting 100% setting the bar too high? Is any number below that just not good enough? I think that’s the way I have been feeling lately; frustrated that I do not get ‘100% moments.’
Here’s my typical moment situation: I am working, I am playing, I am listening, I am laughing, I am talking, I am typing, I am running, I am cooking, I am thinking and at the same time I am forgetting, I am stumbling, I am half-listening, I am not belly-laughing, I am misinterpreting, I am snapping (not my fingers), I am not editing my thoughts before they come out, I am judging and I am exhausted.
I often wish I could measure each one of the above acts. I wonder which would carry most of the weight in which type of situation. I wonder when my children can sense that even though I am physically standing in front of them, I am not emotionally connected and present with them in that moment. I pray they know that I desperately wish I could be fully present with them. Sometimes, I can snap myself out of it, step out of the “CRAZY”, reach in and grab my heart and pump it back to a normal rhythm. It is in those situations when I can catch a glimmer of ‘hoping’ in the eye of my seven year old when he asks if I can play catch with him. I am able to quickly and enthusiastically shout “YES I CAN!” before that multi-tasking less than 100% bitch gets a hold of the moment.
I have been recently researching how to better manage or improve my life. I have been reading articles and have even bought a couple of audio books on line. A light bulb went on for me tonight at the library as I was perusing books like “How to get the most out of your busy day” and “Finding Your True Calling” and “Getting it all done.” Seriously? Why do I need to get the MOST out of my day? Can’t I just get what is intended for me that day and be happy and satisfied with it? THAT could be MY 100%….maybe someone else would say “Nope. That’s only 75%! Not good enough! ” And is there really a need to get it ALL done? There are usually deadlines and timelines to most of what we do. I suppose it depends on what we consider ALL. All would be 100%. But maybe my “all” today is more like 80% and I could just be happy with that. If I am happy with that, then wouldn’t that be 100%?
I began to feel anxious in that aisle of the library instead of comforted by the thought of someone else having it figured out enough that they could actually write a book about it. There is too much pressure in this life to “get it all done” and to “shoot for the stars.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I want to just get it “half right” but being happy with myself for what I CAN do is really what I am striving for.
So there are some things that I have chosen to work on from my own experiences. Things I tell myself…no library needed.
Talk to the boys. Let them in; tell them what you are trying to accomplish and feeling. This may teach them that communicating makes you feel better and helps others to better understand you.
Be true to myself.
Take a step back before communicating…with the kids, with family, friends and at work. See the situation for what it is and sate the facts in a way you would want to be spoken to.
Life is like training a puppy.
When you feel totally frustrated, stay emotionless, calm and patient. Puppies don’t know what you are saying and cannot use words to push your buttons. Don’t let people do it. Stay quiet and let the situation play out.
My goal, without help from books or references from the library, is to have more of my own 100% moments. The pressure of other people’s 100% is too much for me. I want to hear the whole story, belly laugh, actually sit down, I want to run and play catch with my boys. Life is good…100%!