confessions of a recovering perfectionist

Do you ever have those days where you question every single decision you’ve ever made in your life, right down to why on Earth you ever thought that that pink puffy winter jacket you had in second grade was ever okay? That was pretty much the entire year of 2014 for me. For so long I felt like every time I finally picked myself up from getting knocked on my knees, I was getting kicked straight in the shins with a pair of steel-toed boots again. How many nights did I cry, wondering when things would finally get better?

“The problem with hindsight is that it’s 20/20.” I’m a strong proponent of clichés, mostly because they are there for a reason – and this one’s no exception. Looking back, I see that when life knocks you on your knees that you’re in the perfect position to pray. Life kept knocking throwing me (as hard as it could) down, but I was too stubborn to ask for help. Somewhere along the way, I finally let go of my strong will and admitted that I couldn’t do it on my own. I stumbled across a bible verse that has gotten me through some of my darkest days, Jeremiah 29:11, and I hit my knees – this time in prayer.  And honestly, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

 

We’re 28 days into 2015 – and already the last year feels like it was a lifetime ago. I’ve been given so many amazing opportunities, grown so much stronger, learned so much about myself in these four short weeks than I ever imagined possible.

I made some resolutions for the new year, and while some have been easier to stick to than others, I’m proud to say I’ve kept each and every one of them so far.
– I’ve been working out more regularly and have stuck to a (semi) healthy diet, and I feel great. I’ve been sleeping better, feeling more energized, and even my skin and appearance are reaping the benefits.
– My temper… It’s still a work in progress. I think it always will be to some extent. But I am glad to say that in my friendships and relationship I have made a conscious effort to be more understanding, more patient, more willing to give 150% of my effort and I’m seeing improvements little by little, day by day.
– Social media? Another major work in progress. I’ve recently discovered that while I’ve always felt I was a complete extrovert, I’m more of an outgoing introvert – and it explains a lot. However, I’ve set aside time each day I would have otherwise wasted scrolling through twitter or Facebook (or Pinterest | ThoughtCatalog | Elite Daily | etc) to bury my nose in a book. Being a complete bookworm who has been known to devour entire novels in one sitting, it has been a refreshing disconnect.
– My journal has seen more action the past four weeks than the last year combined. And I still haven’t written as much as I’d like. It kind of falls into the same category as the time I’ve put aside for reading. As much as I love putting my fingers to my keyboard, there is something about putting a pen to paper that just can’t be replicated. Books and journals will never run out of battery on you, and there’s just something about knowing that that makes my heart happy.
– I put in my two weeks at my job to pursue my real dreams, and my last day there is this coming Sunday. Consider it the first of me following my “bigger yes’s”. It hasn’t been a simple task, but it has been less daunting than I expected. I can’t wait to see where this new sense of purpose takes me.

My last resolution was to “make every day count – depth, width, and length”… About that.

School this semester is going to kick my butt, as 18 credit hours consisting of four political science, a philosophy, and an economics class could be expected to do. But it’s the best semester I think I’ve had yet – and it’s just getting started. I have such a renewed love for what I’m studying, I’ve completely reconnected with my major and my field. I whine about my homework, but secretly there’s nothing I would rather spend my weeknights learning about than public administration or the American judicial system. There is an end in sight of my college career and while it’s a bittersweet feeling, my passion for my future line of work has left me more excited than ever to get out there, make a difference – make my mark on the world.

This weekend, I was chosen to work with the University of Louisville Panhellenic Council as a Gamma Chi for formal recruitment here in 2015. Basically what that means is that I’ll be disaffiliating from my chapter for 4 months in order to work as a recruitment counselor, and help new women find their home in Greek life. It’s literally a terrifying thought to be away from my sisters for that long, but I know that I have such an incredible support system that I will come out the other side of this experience such a better person that I am entering it. I couldn’t be more excited!

Speaking of support system… As you all know, I’ve found a really amazing man that I’m lucky enough to call my own. I don’t even have the words to begin to explain it. People have always told me “when you know, you know” and I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken. There’s just something about falling in love with your best friend, your rock, your other half. I am so thankful to have him, and I love him not only for who he is but who I am with him. I truly am at my best thanks to his encouragement, trust, and genuine care for me. I’m counting down the days until we are finally (actually) together again, and I know that life has some pretty great things in store for us. The fairytale I’ve always dreamed of is finally coming true.

One of the biggest things that I’ve focused on, that wasn’t a real resolution but rather just an outlook change, was the expectations and standards I hold myself to. I always joke that I’m a “recovering perfectionist,” but for those of you who know me well – you know it’s not even a little bit of a joke. It’s amazing what the slightest perspective shift can do, even for someone as Type A as Dallas Ann.

Here’s to answered prayers, new opportunities, true love, and a standard of grace – not perfection.