I have done a fair amount of work this weekend, though not as much as I planned.  Part of this is due to the design of The Grid.  I have given myself early deadlines to discourage last minute all-nighters and sloppy work.  This is similar to my 6-minute fast watch/clock rule – I set all my clocks and my watch at least 6-minutes fast to give myself the illusion that I have less time than I actually do, to push me out the door faster.  The success rate of this strategy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; I’m well aware that I have a small cushion, and will dawdle given half a chance.  Still, setting my timepieces does work often enough that I keep it on as a strategy.  And so it goes with The Grid.  Only two of my tasks for this weekend were must-dos, and those will be plenty done in time for tomorrow.  A third task is 80% complete, and the fourth task, though not actually started this weekend, can be pushed back to tomorrow with little disruption.  It is important for me to remember that while I do have a fair amount of wiggle room right now, I still need to treat the goals on The Grid with respect – sure, I don’t need a week set aside to write my research paper (the actual writing part – I’ve been consistently doing the research for the past 3 weeks); however, writing in a foreign language takes at least twice as long as writing in English (for me), and I don’t want to make a lot of careless errors that I don’t have time to catch when self-editing (or bag completely the self-editing).  My ambitious deadlines are to prevent a whole mess of chicken-with-her-head-cut-off activity, though the subsequent lack of deadline pressure does make me less diligent.  I do want to do my best on these things, but I can’t help but feel that I may have slightly unrealistic expectations on how efficiently I work.

My expectations are pretty lofty – anyone who knows my grad school list knows I’m aiming pretty high; but I recognize that I have both the qualifications to succeed and the clarity to realize that someone can have all the qualifications and still not make the cut.  I joke about Bob’s Bait Shop and School o’ Languages, but there is a very real possibility that I will not be accepted to three of the schools on my list, even though I do have all the requirements they expect – because so does everybody else.  As for my classwork, the difference between doing A work and doing something perfectly is fairly great – I always shoot for perfection, all the while realizing that it is unattainable.  Nevertheless, I often do feel that I may be falling short (I am my harshest critic).

All this means that I am often beating myself up metaphorically for minor slip-ups.  I try to balance taking things seriously and not taking myself too seriously; or in other words, I try to recognize that as long as you don’t actually expect perfection, expecting yourself to come as close as you can is pretty healthy – in the past, I’ve been too content to coast.  I can see, though, that people might mistake my high expectations for myself as a universal set of expectations for others.  Which is a shame, as I have no desire to tell other people what to do.  Just because I’m bat-shit crazy doesn’t mean I expect others to drink the Kool-Aid, as it were.  I suppose that’s why I’ve spent most of my adult life single – men see the standards I set for myself (even when I was an underachiever, I expected to be an excellent underachiever), and assumed I was going to expect the same from them.  Which I don’t.  I mean, I’m not going to be treated like crap, but people need to live their lives according to their personal philosophies – and mine isn’t the only game in town.  But what do you do?  Wear a sign that reads, “Hey guys, I have exacting standards for myself, but if you’re ethical and true to yourself, I won’t judge you.”?  Maybe I’ll just stand out on the street with a sign that reads, “Nobody Sucks, Though I Occasionally Disappoint Myself.”

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