You Mean I’m Not Perfect?

I have heard so many tales from perfectionists, unable to let minor details go and obsessing over small errors until late in the night. I never imagined that I was one of them. I don’t get things done perfectly. I don’t arrange and rearrange until everything is just so. I don’t spend hours searching for the perfect shade of lemon yellow to paint my kitchen. I see a flaw and let it go. I never imagined that I was a perfectionist until I was  I am not your typical perfectionist who must have each detail of a project exactly right before it is considered complete. My perfectionism does not push me forward to complete incredible feats and achieve my greatest dreams. No, my perfectionism paralyzes me. If I think I may be unable to obtain perfection, I am completely unable to perform at all. This affects even the simplest chores in my life, “Don’t have the time of energy for a full workout, why bother at all? Don’t think that you can achieve that goal, don’t even try!” For me, fear of failure, in the past, has spurred me into inaction.

I am working towards being comfortable aiming to achieve things- fear of failure be damned.  While working on my vision and goals worksheet (downloaded from Lululemon’s website here.)  I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to set the right goals, how to make sure my goals are achievable and working really hard to not be scared of setting a goal which I might not meet.

I read a blog post by Lululemon Leadership Trainer, Matt, who explained how he uses fear to motivate himself to achieve his goals. To him, setting goals meant that he was doing something remarkable. With his encouragement to embrace the possibility of failure and use it to succeed, I am creating goals for myself and making use of my fear of failure. Without setting the goals, I would never fail at anything but I would also never accomplish anything. As a result, I am spending this year thinking about goals and giving myself the opportunity to set and re-set goals using the Lululemon worksheet. The goal, for now, is to create meaningful goals that I can start working towards.

On a side note, I started writing this post weeks ago and hadn’t finished it or posted it because I felt that it wasn’t perfect. I find this hilarious and indicative of my long journey ahead towards being comfortable with not being perfect.

Being Okay with Feeling Not Okay (Or Why This Post is Only So-So)

I have been struck by a few of those days when I feel incredibly down and not positive at all. I keep getting lost in those moments of self-pity and negative self-talk where I am thinking that progress is too slow going and that I am not achieving enough. I don’t know what it is that I am supposed to be achieving but I have that feeling that I am not doing enough.

Now, I don’t believe every bit of horoscope I read but I do like checking mine. They often contain good for advice or a bit of wisdom useful for putting some aspect of my life in perspective. I like to check the Globe and Mail horoscopes, and, since I am living in Korea, I don’t get to read it until my day here is nearly over which I prefer. This was yesterday’s horoscope “Cosmic activity in and around your opposite sign makes it appear as if you are losing control but only because you are trying to hold on to what you no longer need. Let go, and life will be fun again.” It may seem corny but I was thinking something similar yesterday morning as I walked to work, hours before I would have been able to read it. I  don’t know what cosmic activity has to do with it but I am  definitely holding onto some thought or expectation that is keeping me in my sullen state.

Every time I pick up a book that might bring me out of my funk I do not even notice what I am reading. I can’t seem to write anything. I had promised myself that I would put up two posts a week and while I have tons of ideas and even the beginnings of some pretty great posts saved, I can’t seem to add anything, edit what I have or even read what I have already written. No doubt about it, I am in a slump. It seemed like a chore to make it through yesterday’s yoga class and even my hips refused to get into the spirit, leaving me slumped in a heap instead of gracefully folded over to hold onto my toes. That is the flavour of my week, just in a heap.

What I may be hanging onto is the ten pounds I have put on since being in Korea. I have been thinking pretty obsessively lately those ten pounds and my inability to get rid of them. I have spent the past week dwelling on my shape pretty heavily. I put a tiny hole in the crotch of my favourite jeans this week. Despite hitting the gym three times a week, yoga classes, working out at home daily, eating well and walking at least an hour a day, I don’t see a difference. This is weighing on me, no pun intended, and I need to let it go, remember that those jeans were a size 24, and, if a size 24 is a little small on me it may not be the end of the world. This is easier said than done when those same jeans fit just three short months ago. Yes, this is definitely contributing to my current lack lustre outlook on me.

What am I going to do? For now, I am just going to let myself feel icky. I am embracing that this isn’t a week for feeling great but that doesn’t mean I am failing, it just means that next week is a new opportunity for growth. Maybe this is what I need to let go and, hopefully, to open my hips.

Seoul, the city of Go.

I am reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Prey, Love and there have been several passages that have stuck with me. One in particular is about finding “your city.” She writes about finding “the word” of the city that you are in. The word being a single word which commonly sums up the majority’s thought towards the city. You knew whether or not you could belong to a city or if a city could belong to you by whether or not you have the same word.

This of course had me thinking about the word for Seoul. Seoul is busy, full and available but the word for Seoul is definitely “Go.” It doesn’t care where you are going or what you do when you get there as long as you just keep moving. There is no standing still in Seoul. You are always moving, rushing to catch the train, pushing your way out of the train and forcing your way through crowds of people. Everyone is moving so quickly. You do not stop to enjoy the view. You just keep going and if you don’t, you will get carried along.

I learned this during my first week here. As I meandered my way to transfer subways lines one morning, an ajuma rushed past me, nearly knocking me over and successfully spilling my coffee to the ground. (As a side note here: if you must (and I must indeed) have coffee on the Korean subway, hold it with both hands as close to your body as possible.) My initial reaction was frustration but then I remembered to appreciate the differences in culture for what they were and was kind of pleased to be learning another lesson on how to survive in Seoul. Always be prepared to move. If you don’t go, Seoul will knock you over and you will be the only person to pick yourself up.

So, Go is definitely the word for Seoul. Go to where you are supposed to be. Go to work, go to the gym, go out, go home…just keep going. And I will. It may not be the right word for me forever, I think I prefer something simpler that allows me to savour quiet moments and watch the world around me. But, for now, Go is my word too. I will take the word for this city and find a way for it to inspire me, maybe “Go, do.”

Finding Home Halfway Around the World.

Arriving in Seoul was terrifying. I was dumped in a hole of a love motel, complete with a used tube of toothpaste, used plastic shower slippers and a half empty, industrial sized, pump top container of lube. After travelling for over a day and being further from home than I had ever been before, I sat on my love motel bed and bawled. The kind of crying that is absolutely shameless, giant tears and mascara travelled down my red face and formed a soggy puddle in my lap until I fell asleep. I woke up in the morning and promptly resumed my exaggerated display of misery from the night before, thinking all the while “what have I done? How difficult would it be to get my ass back on a plane and safely home?”

A few deep breaths, a very hot shower and a completely unconvincing pep-talk later I managed to pull myself together long enough to try and find the subway station.

And there she was… the unmistakable call of the green siren -Starbucks! I am sure the joy and relief was as visible on my face as the anxiety had been just moments before. I let out a sigh of relief, I was home. With the exception of a few pastries and advertisements for a “sweet potato latte”, it was incredibly the same as any Starbucks in North America. I studied the menu and felt the tears welling up again- how was I going to order anything? The only Korean I knew were the 4 words E had written on a post it for me before I left. How was I going to order anything- anywhere?

A moment later a delightful barista asked me, in hardly accented English, if I wanted an americano and a bagel. I actually cried then but the tears were of relief and happiness. I would survive.

Knowing that wherever I am in Seoul, I will be able to find home became hugely important to adapting to a strange city. Knowing that I could and would find great coffee here was just the best bonus, for my adventures through the coffee shops of Seoul check out: http://coffeefrommyseoul.wordpress.com/

How I ended up lost.

2012 is a great year. It is the year of risk, change, being happy, just being, finding passion and defining dreams.

2011 was a tumultuous year for me. I should have known it was going to be that way when things just did not go right from the very beginning. It all started on New Years Eve when, after promising myself that I would not get black out drunk and make a fool of myself AGAIN this year, I got black out drunk and made a fool of myself. It was the beginning of the end of what was supposed to have been a very good year.

Over the next few months, life continued downhill at a fairly steady rate. Highlights of this time included sending a drunken email to my boss, crying in a friend’s hallway while she was having a party inside her apartment, drunkenly trying to convince someone that he loved me when the opposite was quite obvious and drinking myself into a stupor every weekend.

Though I loved the company I worked for, it was an ill-suited match and I was struggling to keep up. With the help of a fantastic boss, I began a journey of self-discovery and personal development. I took baby steps for a very long time and savoured every moment of development as I experienced it. Eventually, and for reasons that are for now an embarrassing secret, I decided to leave the company and move to Seoul to teach English.

Here I am, in Seoul. Everyday I discover a little more of who I am and what makes me happy. This is where I will share that with you.