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My New Year’s Resolution

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In 2018, I had a New Year’s resolution: “Don’t fuck up.”

That was because I had made a lot of big decisions in 2017. I got a job and moved to Japan. I was afraid that if I made a mistake I’d lose what I had.

It turns out that making that resolution was the bigger mistake. Whenever I made the slightest error in my research, I’d start stressing and thinking I wasn’t good enough for my job. It would get so bad that I would think about quitting my job every few weeks.

It wasn’t that anyone at work had treated me poorly, or that I don’t enjoy my job. I hardly ever receive online harassment either. It was all inside my own head.

I’ve known for a long time that my perfectionism is a bad habit. I was saying back in February that I needed to change my outlook, and I’ve talked mentioned this problem in other blog posts too. Although I tell myself frequently that I don’t need to be perfect in order to be happy, I doubt that this aspect of my personality will ever go away entirely. But I shouldn’t go around making things harder by putting pressure on myself with my “don’t fuck up” resolution.

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That’s why my resolution for 2019 is “chill out.” I’ll stop assuming that my reputation will burn to cinders if I make a mistake, because after all the mistakes I made in 2018 I haven’t even come close to losing my job. Even though I write for a popular website that gets a lot of public scrutiny, I’ve got to come to terms with the fact that most people don’t actually care about my mistakes as much as I do.

I’m comforted by the fact that I’m not the only person who has this problem, and that people are actually rather forgiving of your mistakes if you’re earnest and transparent. Social media gives the impression that everyone is watching you, ready to jeer if you screw up, but you’ll always be your own worst critic. Unless you’re a celebrity with no private life, the only person who watches you constantly is you. So you’d best get along with yourself.

At any rate, we’re six days into the new year and so far, so good. I don’t start work again until tomorrow, and I’ve spent most of the time lazing about on holiday. I’ve been reading The Promised Neverland lately, and it’s really, really good. The anime looks amazing as well. Maybe I’ll actually get around to watching anime this year!

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?

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Posted on January 6, 2019, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. One of my big resolutions this year was to enjoy my day job more and stop putting so much pressure on myself. That probably means not being at my work for as many hours and maybe I won’t accomplish as much but I’ll probably enjoy what I do better and stop feeling so bad about going each day.

  2. My main New Year’s Resolution for 2019 is to take chances and just do things, even if (or especially if) it’s scary to do so. I have a lot of pretty major life changes looming over me this year, and I think they’ll tend to go much more smoothly if I emotionally embrace rather than run away from them.

    (Also, buy less sugary snacks. Not just for my health, but for my wallet. Damn convenience stores, so convenient.)

  3. I think mine is to find something that I love doing, and do it. I’m done school now and have put off seriously thinking what I wanted to do afterwards for so long that now I’m unemployed and out of school lol. I have some ideas, the goal now is to get someone to hire me :/

    • I’ve been there. My advice is, if you keep putting yourself out there. Make sure you talk with lots of people and show them your work. Keep a portfolio – this is useful even for jobs that don’t necessarily demand one. And most importantly, don’t give up!

  4. One of my friends is absolutely brilliant – got accepted into an ivy league school and everything but she couldn’t afford the tuition so we’re both studying at the same uni. My family brought me up to see every flaw of mine as a hindrance and a failure. Needless to say that hasn’t done much good for me other than induce extreme anxiety and panic attacks frequently throughout the semester. Another friend of mine noticed I wasn’t eating or sleeping because I thought that if I didn’t score higher than her on an exam than that meant I was stupid. She scored a 97 while I made a 96. It was just 1 point but I couldn’t handle it, especially when I learned that she hadn’t studied for it as she had another exam that took precedence. My dad pretty much told me that his worth as a father depended on what career his children chose and if it wasn’t STEM I had failed him so for the longest time I thought if I didn’t have the best score in the class and etc. than there was something wrong with me. I can’t thank my friends enough for their support. I told my friend that I had a terrible competitive perfectionist complex with her and those who performed well in class and they’ve been helping me learn to relax. It’s not been easy and I still panic during exams but I can safely say that I’ve noticed a difference. I hope you find a way to use your perfectionist side to your benefit. Here’s to a new year!

    • Gosh, thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad to hear that you’re learning to relax somewhat, at least. It gives me hope that maybe I can improve too! Let’s hope the new year treats both of us well!

  5. I am also a perfectionist, but also not. It’s a contradiction in and of itself. Mainly, I want to do the best I can and have others respect me, but I also lack the compassion to gain that respect. I’m not the nicest person ever (I am no bully, nor ever have been or ever intent to be), but I like to think I’m decent at understanding people and their feelings.

    It’s the little things that bother me, really. Sensory issues and ADHD have made this worse for me- timers and high pitched noises, wanting to be very early, taking issue with others making loud conversation… and so on. Bigger things too, like having to be correct all the time, wanting the source of claims and statements, and a general wanting of full knowledge in my interests. It’s kind of a pain to be like this simply because I realise I’ll die younger with all the stress its caused me, and it strains my ability to sometimes continue in what I do. However, its the little things that I guess define me too: I’m an American in Michigan yet write in British English, I can often naturally speak in Iambic Pentameter, I’ve confused several naturally born British citizens to believing I am one simply due to my ability to have a natural southern British accent, I am often good at impressions, and so on.

    Really its the little things that define us. I can be catagorised in one group, but when you look at everyone in there, they are 100% different people (obvious, I know). So, your pursuit of perfection in writing is something I relate to on a daily basis, and can sympathise with from one perfectionist to another.

    I personally love where you are at your writing. In hindsight, I somewhat feel regret foe feeling guilty about something I previously said, but it remains true- I am attracted to you through your writing. It’s not romantic nor sexual or any other deeply intimate thing, but it could be seen so, as I get the feeling of honesty in what you say. That I could imagine you as a real life friend simply due to the personality conveyed through writing. It’s hard for writer to convey such unique and distinct personality in text, but you’ve done it. I gather the feeling that I’d be very fond of you if we ever knew each other in real life. Perhaps a feeling of love? That being said, we choose what we say, and not everything is known. There is no first person narrator we can read or hear to fully understand another person, however, I get close to it with your writing.

    I know that last paragraph was rather… creepy, and possibly off putting, (to which I apologise in advance because subtlety and expressing one’s true thoughts and feelings don’t match well in my brain) but I hope this point gets across: the most talented and respected writers, in my view, are able to convey personality through text in a way where they feel real. I think you’ve achieved that, Can you improve. Sure, anyone can. But you’ve reached a point where someone centuries from now can look back at this blog, your twitter, your articles, and when combined, get a good idea of what you’re like. Not knowing you, I don’t know how accurate it would be, but it seems to me a good guess as to who Frog-kun is.

    (That was very tiring to write, having to make sure each word was properly chosen and that it had a clear message.)

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