This has been a strange couple of months for me. I have grown increasingly dissatisfied with my job, and doing a lot of soul-searching (a term which I am beginning to tire of). This past week was the RA selection season at my alma mater. It’s weird being entirely removed from the process. I started to think about my time as an RA, and tried to figure out where it all went so terribly, terribly wrong. I came to the realization that I was a horrible RA. Indeed, I totally sucked at it, and the fact that I thought I could continue in that line of work is astounding to me. But, why was I so awful at it? Was it because I cared so much in the beginning that I let myself down? Was it because I had the wrong idea of what my position was? Was it because I was too old? I think it was a combination of these things. Then there was the other factor: my perfectionist curse.
I wanted to badly to be the best, I never tried to be my best. I wanted to be the best RA ever, and never took the time to truly evaluate my strengths and weaknesses, to be the best I could be. I never made the position mine, I just kept pushing myself to be that ideal I had in my head. What I wouldn’t give to start over. But, short of installing a flux capacitor on my car, that is not going to happen. So, I move on.
This need to be the best extends to every other aspect of my life, as well. I keep telling myself that everyone has that one thing that they do better than anyone – baking, cooking, writing, drawing, listening to problems, math, science, you name it. I feel like I’m just adequate at a lot of things, but not the “best” at anything. When other people I know cook or bake, I see it as instant competition. And I am terrified to share my stuff with them because I know it will fall short. I don’t like sharing my writing because there are so many better writers out there. Hell, I have a hard time playing video games with my boyfriend because he’s amazing at it, and I am so not.
I had all these resolutions this year, all of which were skirting the main issue – I need to accept my imperfections, asses what can and cannot be adjusted, and really focus on being the best Beth I can be. Whatever that means. I cannot continue to focus on this idea of perfection. I am incredibly stubborn, and so used to seeing myself in a certain way, it will not be easy to change my way of thinking, but it has to be done. It is going to be a slow and painful process, but I am blessed to have wonderful, supportive people around me to help guide me through.
For those of you who were just hired/given an alternate spot at KSC, let me give you this one piece of advice: be the best RA you can be. Acknowledge the influences of past RAs (either the inspirational “I want to be like them!”, or the “I can do so much better”, which I’m sure former residents of mine probably think), but don’t let it dictate who you will be. Don’t suck at the job because you didn’t allow yourself to find your own way. Basically, don’t be like me.
I am throwing away my resolutions. Except for the one I made to write a page a day. That’s a good challenge. And I’m sort of following through. But rather, I am focusing on the whole person, not just a few areas in desperate need of improvement. I always was a good big-picture thinker.