Surgery Monday and Catching Up

I have minor surgery on Monday to address a problem that has been recurring for several years. A few years ago, the problem made Christmas a bit complicated — I was planning to get my wife a gift and ended up in the hospital that day. This year, I'll be having surgery the day before a guest arrives to stay with us for a few days.

My wife and I need things to settle down for a few weeks so we can gather ourselves and relax. Neither of us has a "laid back" personality. We are both perfectionists. We both feel like we are always falling behind, even while we finish tasks ahead of colleagues. Being a perfectionist is hard work and emotionally draining.

Surgery comes right as I'm dealing with some issues at work. It also comes as we are trying to fix up our existing house enough to put it on the market next summer. There always seems to be more to do than is possible, but that's because we think of everything as important.

I want the classes I teach to be "perfect" in terms of content and delivery. I don't want anything to go wrong that could be considered a result of my teaching or planning. I want my websites, blogs, and other projects to have that same perfect content and flawless planning, no matter how impossible that is. Reports I have to prepare for work? The columns I write for publication? All have to be perfect or I feel horrible.

Yet, life isn't perfect. I realize that, and so does my wife. But we worry about things. We both worry and we both tell each other not to worry.

We worry about our jobs, though we have good jobs. We worry about money, though we are are financially more secure than 97% of Americans.

We don't seem to relax well. We even plan our relaxation.

Following surgery, I'll feel like I have to make up for lost time. It has been lost time all semester, granted, since I've been sick with bronchitis, anemia, and some other issues. I'll be stressed because there is so much to do, while the stress and worry will make it harder to finish the tasks.

The key will be reminding myself that I need to work slowly and steadily to get back on track. The books I wanted to finish writing? They will have to wait. The programming ideas? The website updates? All will have to wait until I feel better. Some things will be months late. That's just how this year and next will be.

I wish we didn't take things so seriously, but that's also why we are both hard workers and good employees. If we could relax, we wouldn't be us.


  1. I hope your surgery goes well. It's been a crazy year for us as well, so I can feel for you. Our son negated any vestige of perfectionist in either my husband or myself. He is full on wild child, so we can't take ourselves too seriously. I want to wish you a peaceful and happy holiday season as well. Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing with all of us.


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