Overachievers Anonymous

My name is Ruth. And I go overboard.

Last week, I found myself happily chatting with some of the other moms from Sir’s class. Eventually, the conversation turned to Teacher Appreciation Week (which, apparently, we were hopelessly late in addressing). I happily offered to contribute to whatever gift the other mothers saw fit to buy for our kids’ two teachers and then went back to the work I had been doing on my laptop. A bit later, I was approached by one of the other moms about the gift situation again.

And that’s when it happened.

Somehow, through no effort on my part. I was suddenly ‘in charge’ of the whole gift-giving operation. It all happened so fast. I didn’t even have a chance to utter a response and, before I knew it, this was my project. Perhaps it was my lack of eloquence or my deer-in-the-headlights countenance, but somehow, something I did said, ‘Oh, yes! Of course, I would LOVE to take on this responsibility that I have no time for and that I’ll probably either screw up or totally forget about until 3 minutes before we are supposed to present said gift. Hells yes, I’m your girl!’

It was all settled then. Ruth would be taking care of the gift. Surely, it was my glazed over look of sheer terror that elicited such reassurances as ‘It’s no big deal!’ and ‘All you have to do is delegate authority!’ Um, yeah, no, that’s not how I operate.

Here’s the Ruth Way of handling such situations…

PANIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Breathe. Panic some more. Come up with a ridiculously over-the-top idea that no one will be able to help me with. Start working. Panic. Work some more. Panic. Realize that it’s 3AM and I haven’t slept or showered in two days and this thing still isn’t done. Panic a little more. Realize (too late) that panicking is taking up valuable time. Finish project with moments to spare. Vow to never volunteer (or be volunteered) for anything ever again.

This time, I made it to the third instance of panicking. That is when I did something that I don’t think I’ve ever done before. I made the conscious decision to NOT overachieve.

One of the moms told me to just get flowers. That seemed a little boring and not very heartfelt and so, remembering the Birthday Pact, I decided to make some flowers. More specifically, I was going to make a flower shadowbox. I dragged Sir to the store, procured the shadowboxes, drew, painted, and cut out the flowers. I got so far as adding beads for accents when I determined that, even with dangerous levels of caffeine coursing through my bloodstream, there was no way I was going to get this project finished. Worse yet, what I was creating was completely uninspired…and it showed. Blech.

So, after three flowers, I quit. Yep, quit. Q-U-I-T.

Tomorrow, after I drop Sir off at school, I’ll go pick up some flowers and call it good. Yep, that’s it. Done.

(If anyone sees a light on in my studio at 3AM, try to forget everything I just said. Heh.)

photo : that’s the end of that by yours truly

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