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Sunday, July 10, 2011

On Overthinking Things

If I have one defining quality, I would have to say that it is my lifelong tendency to overthink things. I have a hundred pieces of writing scattered amongst my papers and computer files which I started and then second-guessed myself out of finishing for any number of reasons. I have a million more that never made it out of my head because I wasn't sure where to take them or how. I do more planning and designing than actual crafting. I pre-emptively worry about every potential outcome of many if not most situations. I want things to be *perfect* and often end up shooting myself in the foot by not settling for "good enough". Yes, high standards are laudable...but what's the point of holding oneself to them if you hold yourself back from doing anything?

As my best friend keeps reminding me, perhaps my focus should be on "progress, not perfection". Yeah? Easier said than done. Let me tell you about a few of my current concerns.

1. Even though I've had two successful breastfeeding relationships, I'm spending time pondering whether this third (impending) one (baby arrives next month!) might hit an obstacle that I'm not even sure is possible to exist. That's right: I'm obsessing on an issue which could well be a complete non-issue. It's a complicated question which really would require an endocrinologist to answer to my satisfaction, so I won't get into it here...other than to point out that this obstacle, if it indeed exists, is most likely to only delay the natural process and not derail it. Yeah, worst case scenario is still essentially "inconsequential". And yet, I am investing time trying to understand it.

2. I have spent the better part of the past three weeks researching, planning, surfing, asking, calculating, testing, knitting, and frogging a pair of knit slippers that should reasonably have taken 2-3 days to complete. Above-referenced Best Friend is going to verbally abuse me when I admit this, but I have now made 4 slippers and am still not satisfied with the fit. I think I may have FINALLY figured out the perfect (see, there's that word again) formula (not universal, alas, but for this yarn/gauge/foot) and am going to task myself to NOT frog the current slipper when it's done--with luck, later today. Godwilling, then I will finally make a matching mate and be done with it. (Poetic justice, by the way, dictates that I will never actually wear these things. LOL)

3. I sewed one of three matching new curtains for my bedroom two weeks ago. I have left the project dormant ever since, because I cannot decide on the most accurate method to compensate for a design challenge (the windows are differing lengths and the curtains have contrast panels...and I want them to look as visually consistent as possible). I have a number of ideas; I just can't seem to pick one and dive in.

4. I've had a pile of pattern pieces (tissue paper, not cut fabric) sitting on the buffet in my dining room for probably a month now, waiting for me to redraft an ill-fitting bodice for fifth time. Yes, it matters. I did three test muslins to find a good fit, then sewed a garment in a fabric with a different ease requirement and it didn't work. Part of me actually has a practical need for this garment (nursing attire), but I'll be honest--most of me is just stubbornly committed (as with the knit slippers) to beat this challenge because I will not let it beat me.

Does it surprise anyone to learn that the one time in my life that I accepted a prescription for psych meds, they were to control OCD?


The optimist in me would like to point out that in all of these cases, my search for answers has invariably expanded my knowledge and understanding of a number of topics, processes, and techniques. I've learned a handful of methods for knitting heel turns in toe-up socks, a counterintuitive but so superior starting point for altering commercial sewing patterns, and a boatload of cool biology. For the autodidact in me, it's hard to discount that kind of "win". All the same, there are times when I wish I could step outside of my need to understand the "how and why" of everything and just go for that progress instead of bogging myself down in so many stalled projects at once...

1 comment:

  1. You are not alone! I am very much the same as you when it comes to major projects. I want perfect results, and often times some one little piece of missing information is enough to stall the entire thing... and then the stalled projects build up one-by-one to the point where the collected mass of them seems to overwhelming to even look at.


    Progress, not perfection, right? :)