If you are unfamiliar with Celebrate the Stuff You Suck at Day, let me introduce it to you. This festive annual holiday was invented by me one day when I was pondering the difference between:
a) Stuff I’m good at (writing, languages).
b) Stuff I’m getting better at (playing recorder).
c) Stuff I’m bad at but don’t care about (washing my car).
d) Stuff I’d like to be good at but simply aren’t (see below).
As someone who wants to be good at almost everything and at one time thought she could, the d) category is problematic. The realization that there are things that simply aren’t within my grasp has not been easy. Yet, there they are.
I invented Celebrate the Stuff You Suck at Day to help myself and other perfectionists out there relax and go with the flow. The first year, I used the phrase “stink at” because I mysteriously assumed some readers might be offended by the word “suck.” And I used “accept” rather than “celebrate”. I think the new title is much better. Don’t just accept the stuff you can’t do well—revel in it!
So, for the Second Annual CTSYSA Day, here is my SISA (Stuff I Suck At) list.
1. Most activities that make you sweat. I have always imagined myself to be a vital, energetic person who got out there and did things. Active things. Like sports. And backpacking. It has taken me a long time to accept the fact that I’m just not.
Most afternoons find me laboriously lifting weights and doing aerobics, usually while listening to NPR or watching Jon Stewart. I do this because I’ve been told it will make me look better, feel healthier, and live longer. But I find even my measely 50 minutes of physical effort loathsome. Through every single lunge or sit-up or curl, I’m thinking of things I’d rather be doing. Like practicing Chinese characters, studying philosophy, or catching venemous spiders with my bare hands.
The thing is, I deeply envy people who like and are good at physical activities. One of my friends has a black belt in karate, for God’s sake. Another does roller derby. Many ski, kayak, or backpack into the wilderness. I want to be like them! Except for the part where it gets cold, hot, tiring, or hard. Then I want to sit with a cup of tea and a book.
2. Meditating. As someone who is often identified as a spiritual writer, you’d think I’d be a good meditator. At least, you’d think I’d realize there is no such thing as “good” vs. “bad” meditating. You would, however, be wrong.
I find it very difficult not to buy into the false notion that meditation is something you work at until you get good at it. And that I’m basically not doing it right. When I’m meditating, I’m usually doing everything except meditation. I fidget. I daydream. I fall asleep. I write in my head. I plan what I’m going to do when I’m done meditating.
A “good” meditator in my scheme is someone who is dedicated and disciplined and does it on a regular schedule. For example, I have a Buddhist friend who, years ago, decided he would meditate daily at noon and he hasn’t missed a single day. Me? I can put “meditate for twenty minutes” on Post-It Notes in 10 places around my house and still manage to forget.
3. Ironing. This one may not be as important as 1 and 2, but it still affects my life. How I look matters to me, probably too much. Part of that is having neatly pressed clothes. Yet, I’ve never gotten the hang of ironing.
I know the basics, of course:
Step 1: Plug in iron.
Step 2: Set dial to correct fabric.
Step 3: Run hot iron across fabric in a continuous motion applying light pressure until item achieves desired degree of smootheness.
Yet, virtually every time I put on something I’ve just ironed, I discover I missed a large wrinkly area, left a slightly glazed patch where the iron was too hot, or created a wrinkle worse than the ones the item started out with. I know for a fact that there exist people on this Earth who do not do this: My sister is one of them. I want to sit at her feet and beg for enlightenment.
There they are: The Stuff I Suck At 2013. Let’s uncork that champagne! Now, what are yours?
Causes Jill Jepson Supports
Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, Interational Society for the Protection of Burros and Mustangs, National Wildlife Federation,...