I had a choir teacher in high school who, like most choir teachers, sought uniformity and perfection. We had to stand a certain way, dress a certain way, make certain expressions and gestures when it was time, and of course sing the way members of an esteemed choir should.
She used to say, “You have to do the right things during every practice…don’t expect to suddenly be able to perform it perfectly onstage when the time comes.”
Well, I’ve been imagining the kind of adult that I wanted to be since I was about sixteen years old–the specifics, anyway.
After graduation came what I perceived to be showtime, and I couldn’t perform.
I hadn’t practiced.
Still, I threw myself at life with everything I had–but I didn’t have much. No stamina. No self discipline. No good habits. Only a handful of confidence. I did have a shit ton of hope and a deep-seated knowledge that success was possible, which only made me feel worse when I failed each time. I tried changing my life by leaps and bounds all at once. I made plans in bursts: starting the next day, I would form every great habit I could think of, stick to a schedule, and overcome all of my inhibitions.
Inevitably, then came the burnout.
I lost myself in the sea of things I was trying to accomplish each time. And after a couple of days of trying to live what I thought was perfectly, I’d find myself both mentally and physically exhausted–and frustrated with myself for not getting it right. I became embarrassed of my hope and faith in myself and disgusted with my apparent inability to do and be better.
Because I can’t perform perfectly if I didn’t practice perfectly. I can’t run a marathon if I didn’t prepare accordingly.
And I can’t suddenly live a life of discipline and mental fortitude just because I wished it one day. I have to work on it, little by little.
That being said…I need to reset–my mindset, my frustrations, my body, my goals. Start preparing for a new performance, if you will. And I promise myself that I’ll do my best this time around and be somebody worth looking up to.