Growing up, I learned several things: take care and pride in the things that you do, pay attention to details, follow established or recommended procedures, but be creative and flexible enough to find more efficient and effective ways of accomplishing tasks. In other words, don’t expect things to just happen on their own and be willing to improve upon past efforts.
Each of us have
responsibilities and must take an active role in the world around us. No
matter what that role is, it’s nice when everybody is able to do their
best and helps to make things work well together. But sometimes, aiming
for “your best” can lead to a distraction called perfectionism.
have to admit that I’m somewhat of a perfectionist, in an all or
nothing sort of way. It’s always been difficult for me to accept
something as being satisfactory, good enough, or almost right. And when I
do make a conscious decision to simply do what needs to be done, and no
more, I find it challenging when others around me may want to go back
to the planning stages and do the work over again. Argh, once I’ve let
something go, physically and emotionally, I don’t want to revisit it.
one thing which I’ve had a really hard time learning to accept is the
concept of good enough. When living with chronic disease, sometimes you
don’t have the luxury of spending tons of energy perfecting every little
detail. Sometimes you just have to simply ensure that things are okay,
safe, or clean.
In my previous life, when I used to live
alone, I was entirely responsible for everything that happened at home.
If the floor needed to be vacuumed, I did it. I even moved light
furniture so that I could run the vacuum wand along the floorboards to
remove the cat-fur dust bunnies before they grew to adulthood. A bit of
prevention helped to keep things from getting out of control.
the dishes needed to be washed, I did them by hand and scrubbed every
metal surface till it shined. If the cat became unsatisfied with the
condition of his litter box, he was not shy about letting me know by
doing his business on the floor of the bathroom. In that case, I needed
to focus more on the prevention stage. Although I was swamped with
graduate classes, working two library jobs, and performing in at least
four ensembles, I was able to stay on top of routine household chores
most of the time.
Now that there are three of us in the
house, in addition to our three loving fur babies, and I do not need to
do everything all on my own, it seems that nothing is quite as clean as
it used to be. Items are often not where I left them and there’s always a
pile of dishes to be cleaned.
Face it, I no longer live
alone, nor do I have complete control over my surroundings which I’ve
come to accept. But that’s not all, I also don’t live alone in more ways
than one. My roommates now include multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid
These roommates, MS and RA, are messy slobs. They don’t do their own
laundry, nor do they sleep when I’m tired or get out of the way when I’m
busy working. But these roommates are doing their darndest to teach me
patience, to teach me how to accept “good enough” when it really is
enough, and to learn how to appreciate imperfections. It makes me
appreciate a freshly washed countertop, or a pile of clean laundry which
I didn’t have to fold myself, all the more.
What types of
things have you learned, or are learning, to accept after living with
chronic illness for any period of time? Please share your stories in the
comments section below.
Read this post in its entirety:
Acceptance: A Tough Lesson to Learn