There’s a lot of skills you learn in the military; for example – you learn that anything worth doing, is worth doing PERFECTLY. (You learn this in the first week of Basic Training; because if everything isn’t done perfectly, your Master Corporal sends all your stuff flying out the window, and you win a free chance to try again).
This is a skill that is extremely important while you’re serving – that attention to detail could save your life or someone else’s.
However, when you’re retired, and struggling with depression; PTSD; chronic pain; a bad back, a bum knee, and so on – that skill can make things even worse.
If you stick with perfection as your standard, if your body or your mental health (or both) can’t keep up, you might get stuck thinking “why even bother”, and having trouble even getting started. On the flipside, you might keep trying for perfection, and making all your aches and pains worse unnecessarily.
So – enter the fine art of doing a half-ass job.
In a nutshell, this involves realizing that doing some – even a little – is a step forward from doing NONE. Getting out of bed and doing one small thing is a step forward from being too depressed to get up.
On the flipside, it might also be realizing that keeping your house spotless isn’t worth aggravating your pain: it’s learning that good enough is, actually, good enough.
Much as I’d love to leave off by saying, “Don’t worry, I won’t tell your Master Corporal from Basic that I’m teaching you to do a half-ass job” – the truth is, I’m hoping that your old Master Corporal reads this too, and that he/she also learns to do a half-ass job…
I’d love to have you share your thoughts, comments, and questions. If you do post a comment, please don’t give specific details of your trauma – these may be triggering to another reader. If you’d like to offer criticism, I’ll take it – I know I’m not perfect, and I’m always willing to learn. If you do offer criticism though, I’d really appreciate it if you could do so constructively (ie., no name-calling, please). Thanks…
~ Dr. Dee Rajska, C. Psych.
*Fine print: Please feel free to share the link to this blog wherever you think it might be helpful! Reading this blog is a good start, but it’s no substitute for professional help. It takes a different kind of courage to admit to yourself that you’re struggling. PTSD is not a sign of failure – it’s a sign that you’ve been through a lot, and have tried to stay strong for too long. If you need help – you’re in some pretty great company. Reach out, and give yourself a chance to feel better.
**Really fine print: The content of Coming Back Home is copyrighted; please feel free to share the link, but do not copy and paste content. Unless otherwise noted, all original photography on Coming Back Home is copyrighted. The photo gracing today’s post was taken by Wojtek Rajski, and I’d like to thank him for generously allowing me to use his work. Please do not copy photographs from Coming Back Home without permission.