Photo By: Mel Fechter

Mentoring Mankind with Memories and Musings

Dec 1,   the 2nd Year of My Voyage is Over
Nov 20,   I Find Family and Friends at Hallmark
Nov 5,   My Book From the Male Viewpoint
Oct 12,   Music & Movies Mark My Milestones
Sep 18,   My New Life Appears on the Horizon
Aug 23,   Life is a Pathway with Many Forks
Aug 4,   Life Imitates Hello Myrmidon
Aug 1,   Writing a Book Has Changed My Life
Jun 13,   Plants are Amazing Creatures
May 25,   Will You Accept My Apology?
May 1,   A Journal is a Window on Your Life
Apr 30,   A Road Trip to Shangri La
Apr 25,   Movies as Matchmakers
Apr 23,   Me at Seventy-Three!!!
Apr 19,   Make Time for Your Friends
Apr 14,   Can One Make a Difference?
Apr 9,   a snipit from HELLO MYRMIDON
Apr 1,   What Price Glory, Sweat, Tears
Mar 30,   To Retrieve or Not Retrieve
Mar 29,   Discourse on Decisions
Mar 25,   Memory Retrieval
Mar 24,   I Join the World Community
Mar 22,   Website Lessons
Mar 3,   My Miracles, Part 2
Mar 2,   My Miracles, Part 1
Feb 9,   Phones of Old, Part 2
Feb 8,   Phones of Old, Part 1
Feb 7,   Twitterpated!!!
Jan 25,   Jacob and Esau, Part 2
Jan 24,   Jacob and Esau, Part 1
Jan 10,   A New Goal?
Jan 9,   My Earliest Memories
Dec 31,   2016: Successes and Failures
Dec 30,   2016: My Self-Discovery
Dec 28,   I Finally Hear My Angels
Dec 27,   Angels and Me
Dec 26,   Angels Inspire Me
Dec 24,   the Littlest Angel
Dec 23,   Story of My Name Part 3
Dec 22,   Story of My Name Part 2
Dec 21,   Story of My Name Part 1
Dec 19,   Prior Challenges Part 2
Dec 17,   Prior Challenges Part 1
Dec 16,   My Website Challenge
Dec 15,   Astrological Review of 2016
Dec 14,   North Coast Winter
Dec 13,   an Angelic Intervention
Dec 12,   Birth of HELLO MYRMIDON
Dec 11,   Christmas Lights Fade
Dec 10,   Christmas Art Project
Dec 9,   Finding a Perfect Tree
Dec 7,   Christmas with KW
Dec 6,   Christmas around the World
Dec 4,   Mom’s Story Part 2
Dec 3,   Mom’s Christmas Story Part 1
Dec 2,   Ghosts of Christmas Past
Dec 1,   My First Blog

Guest Blogs

Mar 24,   SusanDay on Being a Grandparent

21st Aug The Importance of Doing My Best

Today is the day of the solar eclipse, so I expected to arise with that on my mind.  But instead, as I awakened I was thinking about the company I entertained yesterday,  and  whether or not I had done enough  to prepare for their visit.  Because of the complexity of my current living situation, my house is always a shambles, but since I'm the only one here I can easily overlook its imperfections.  On the other hand, when folks come to visit I like to have it the way I feel it should  be all the time, so I strive to at least “sand off the roughest edges”.  I know they’ll not think any less of me if I don’t,  but I still can’t help  using the time and energy available to try to  make my place look “presentable”.   

Today I was especially asking myself the question “Why am I driven to do my best in EVERYTHING?  It doesn’t matter whether it's something very small, or very large, I'm never satisfied until I feel that there is absolutely no way for me to improve on the task at hand. My friends tell me that I “can never leave well enough alone”,  and as I think back on my life I'm inclined to agree with them.  Often in my effort to improve a project I keep tweaking it, and actually end up making it worse instead of better.  If you are thinking I could and should learn from this to “leave well enough alone”, you would be mistaken.  Even in writing these blog articles, I spend many hours polishing them before and even after posting them.  But then I occasionally re-read them later, and, yes, find more places to improve them. And I can never read my Hello Myrmidon manuscript without finding at least some small thing to “fix”.

With other projects I sometimes feel they are  “perfect” when I first complete them,  but  soon I notice very small things that make me more and more uncomfortable,  until I finally make an attempt to correct the pesky bothersome problem.  It might be something as small as a picture that is hanging slightly askew, or as large as some big project that has to be completely taken apart to correct a small flaw. But everything is always done to the best of my ability. That is obligatory

In our family,  Saturday morning was always reserved for house cleaning,  and we each had our usual tasks to complete. One Saturday when I was about 14 we had visitors who were eager for us to take them sightseeing. But of course we had to complete our cleaning chores first, and Mom and my sister finished theirs quickly.  However, I was assigned to scrub the bathtub, and I took so long that our visitors became very impatient. They asked why it was taking me so long, and Mom replied this way, "With Angel it's always nothing if not thorough".  Even then I could not do anything half way. What is it that keeps me from being satisfied with a “that’s good enough” job?

The answers to this question can be found starting in my distant past, when I was in primary grade school.  I was always a good student. I didn’t know any better, I just did what was asked and took my successes for granted.  My parents didn’t say much about my grades either, until one day I came home with an A-minus on my report card.  My dad hit the roof. “What’s with the A-minus?" he demanded, with his tongue clenched between his teeth and his eyes piercing me like daggers.  Whew, I had no idea why the minus was there, all I knew was that the usual A was there, so I wondered why he was so upset.  I was 7 or 8 at the time, but I never forgot that.

Then after he died my mom told us many stories about how he was never satisfied with a project unless it was perfect. For instance, he would make the first cut on a board, and then try it for fit.  Then he would make a second cut on the same board, and try that.  And if all went according to plan he could then finish with the “hair” cut to make the piece fit perfectly.  If the project involved something that he was unfamiliar with he always consulted experts in books or in person to learn everything he needed to know to do the project perfectly.  “By guess and by gosh” was not a phrase that was in his lexicon.

Hearing such stories all my life seems to have imprinted on me that same drive.  And until I reached the age that he was when he died  in his 40’s, I had no trouble following that credo.  But as I have aged far beyond that time I have come to realize that although the drive is still there, the ability to perform tasks I previously did easily has become more and more elusive.  So now, at 73, I find it necessary to decide which things I will give attention to and which things can just be ignored.  It’s not an easy choice,  since I’d like to make everything perfect,  but I’d rather choose  to do a few  tasks  that I can be proud of rather than trying to do everything half way and finding nothing done satisfactorily.  So any visitors to my home should appreciate the “well kept” areas and ignore the rest.  Ok?   It’s the only way I can feel like I am doing my very best to live up to my dad’s expectations.

 

 


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