Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bad for my Self-Esteem

Stupid Facebook. I have become addicted to Word Challenge, and in spite of my best efforts, my friend from college, Deanna, has a score that's more than twice mine.

I switched games. Can't beat anyone at Geography or "How Big is Your Brain" either. Not even close.

So, I thought, "Hell with it, I'll do the crossword in the paper!" I have exactly six answers. Out of about 200. I've been sitting here looking at it for 20 minutes.

For crying out loud.

I used to think I was smart. Then I started hanging out with a bunch of rocket scientists. Literally. Most of the people I know have advanced degrees. Even those who don't are smarter than I am. In fact, some of those who don't are smarter than those who have the degrees.

Growing up, I always got good grades without really working at it. I was the smart one. When I got to the point where I had to work at it (college, version 1.0) I quit. I had to go back to school as an adult, twice, to succeed at it (and college, version 3.0 - I was on the Dean's List).

I recently read Outliers, and it talked about people who are really, really good at things, and how much work it takes to get there. It's not that people are necessarily born smarter (although we're all born with certain advantages and disadvantages). Those who rise to the top of their field, or their sport, or their hobby work at it. 10,000 hours is what it takes to transform a person from a beginner to an expert - whether you're talking about sports or playing an instrument. Becoming outstanding at something takes 10,000 hours.

That number makes me want to take a nap.

I am a quitter. If it doesn't come easily to me, I find another game, put down the paper, quit playing the instrument, drop the class, quit the school.... I can't tell you how many hobbies I've gotten into, bought all the stuff for, had a hard time with, and quit. Sewing, scrapbooking, painting, guitar, ballet and gymnastics (as a kid)...... I can't tell you how many times I've lost the first 10 or 15 pounds.

My mom tried - she put me in activities and lessons when I was a kid, she tried to convince me that it would be fun once I'd practiced enough to achieve some minimum level of competency at any given thing.

The only things that I end up doing successfully are the things that I can't get out of, like cooking. I'm a good cook because I have to do it three times a day, just about every day. I don't have a choice. I enjoy it, too, now. But I'm not, and I never will be, a master chef. I can't even make a pretty layer cake - they all end up catty wampus. I guess I'm an average cook, really. It's not like I'm inventing my own recipes here. I'll never write a cookbook.

I absolutely suck at my job. I just make it up as I go along. The only reason I've been doing it this long without getting fired is because I'm sleeping with my boss.

I don't even feel like I'm a very good parent right now. We haven't felt good for so long - it feels like forever. I don't feel well enough to do anything today. BJ keeps asking me, "What do you want to do?" and I can't think of a single thing. It's 1:15, the kids are still in their jammies and watching movies.

The tree is down, but the rest of our Christmas decorations are still up (the wreath, the "Who's" that used to go around the train under the tree) so that's pretty good evidence that I can't claim to be a good housekeeper - for God's sake it's March 1!

I can't sew, I can't knit, I can't play an instrument anymore, I can't do a cartwheel, I can't make anything, I can't understand half of what is going on in the world, I have a very limited grasp of history/geography/political science.

Sometimes I think that I want to be really good at just one thing - but honestly, I don't have the persistence to get there. I am not going to invest 10,000 hours in anything. For whatever reason, I am not at all persistent. It's something I want to teach my kids to be. How do you think you can teach persistence? Preferably in a way that I won't have to work too hard at it. Ha ha.

Facebook's stupid games really shouldn't make me think this hard.

(You don't need to comment and tell me how great I am. I'm fine. I'm just sick. It'll be ok. Where's my Zoloft??)


strwberrryjoy said...

You are a great writer and Mommy! I bet you'll be putting in way more hours than that on the whole mom thing!

Cate said...

I think there must be something in the air or it's the transition of change of seasons because I've been beating myself up unecessarily as well and know of a couple other folks who are also. For me, it's like everything is good, calm, and in a nice holding pattern and so that gives me mental space to start questioning/working on some of the bigger questions/issues or something; I have been getting really wound up inside about money things and environmental things -- like my own family's impact on the local environment, and how much time I "waste" and how little time I have to do anything --- and it's all making me feel like a terrible person and that things aren't ever going to be good again, whatever. But I've found when I get in this mood if I just change one thing, it makes a world of difference in how I feel about myself and the world. Maybe when we get into this kind of funk our internal selves is trying to signal to us that we need a change, we need to get motivated to make some kind of change? Maybe the change is to look at things from all the things we DO do well, DO accomplish, because you're right, if we dwell on what we can't do, we could come up with a list a thousand items long. I know you said not to do this at the end of your blog, but I'm going to anyway: you are great at things; just look at your fabulous blog. I spent a whole Friday night reading your "two under two" posts because they're so great and I so enjoy your writing; I can hear your voice so strongly through your words and it's nice to have your voice in my brain -- I think I've missed your sense of humor all these years.
The other thing is that it'll only be this way for a little while -- when the kids are small it feels like forever, but they are grown for so much longer than they are little, and so they take so much less time and energy. At this age, they are a total joy AND a total drain -- it's impossible to have the energy for anything else, even to have the energy to contemplate putting 10,000 hours into something. You know, most of those people who are experts/superstars at some skill are also childless? We mothers are using all of our creative energy making/feeding/raising our children, and anything else we do on top of that is bonus -- superheroesque!
So this was as much of a pep talk to myself as to you. :)

BOSSY said...

Word Challenge? Bossy is putting her fingers in her ears, lalala she can't hear you, before she becomes addicted to anything ELSE, gah forbid.

B.J. said...

As of 1:20am EST (give or take a couple minutes) on March 2nd, you will have been married for 68,070 hours, and I think you are easily an expert at being a wife.

(I also think the same thing of your mothering (31,194 as of March 2nd at 1:14am EST) and at being a mother of two (17,258 as of 1:09am EST))

Congratulations, Expert.