I've always described myself as very practical, because I am, and think I've worn that trait as some sort of badge.
I'd imagine a lot of people who describe themselves as perfectionists would probably also consider themselves practical. Practical generally means being useful, and I doubt many perfectionists would do something that wasn't useful. Being useless would definitely not be perfect.
But I realized recently that being practical -- just like being wasteful -- can get totally out of control. I realized my practical tendencies had gotten out of hand when I found myself not knowing the immediate answer to this question: "Should I drive an extra 30 minutes out of my way in order to have my friends in the car during the two-hour ride for a weekend away with them? Or, should I just meet them at our destination to keep from adding 30 extra minutes onto both legs of my trip?"
Granted, I'd come up with this non-dilemma after back-to-back, extra long days at work with little sleep in between. But, the fact is, I did find this to be a dilemma for a short while.
Looking back at the laughs we had riding down together -- car somehow packed to the brim with five girls' belongings for a one-night stay (I believe someone held a watermelon in her lap the whole ride, and I definitely had no use of the rear-view mirror) -- I can't believe I even thought twice about whether the extra travel time was a good idea.
But I did think twice, and now I realize I've thought twice about -- and opted out of -- tons of other random scenarios because they weren't "practical." Thinking about how much time and how many memories I've likely missed out on with friends and family because I was being so practical with my time and my "to do" list is heartbreaking.
I'm happy to say this road trip was the wake-up call I've needed, though. Since realizing there's nothing perfect about missing out on fun just to make the most of my time, I've already begun to allot much more space on my priority list to spending time with my friends and taking time to be with my family.
It doesn't always feel immediately comfortable to abandon my schedule to just have some fun, but the more I do it, the easier it gets. And, as if having fun wasn't enough of a reward in itself, I've found that when I do return to my "regularly scheduled programming," I'm much more productive, and much happier doing so.
I guess the old saying -- as usual -- is true: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Renee a dull girl? No thank you!