In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Notre Dame Swim Team bus accident (referred to as simply, “the accident”), I am hoping to share 25 Things I Have Learned In 25 Years. 

I am hard on myself. I am hard on others as well, but mostly it is a reflection of the perfection I expect from myself.

My sister turned 40 last week while we were in Florida for Thanksgiving. As usual when we are together, we laughed and told funny stories about things we have done. One of those stories included a watercolor class we took on vacation.

My sister is extremely talented. She is creative. She has an eye for art, painting, photography and style. She may not see it; but for someone who doesn’t have those things, I see her talents clearly. During our watercolor class, she painted a beautiful scene. I painted a flower with ridged lines and defined objects…not the point of painting with watercolors. But, as a perfectionist, I couldn’t even have something that was supposed to be blurry, blur together. It’s just not in my ability. And yet, I was disappointed in myself for not being able to paint with watercolors.

I see this same trait in my son. He too is a perfectionist, and he too is hard on himself when he falls short of perfection. It can be a tough way to go through life, because no one is perfect. So expecting perfection means we’ll always fall short in our minds. I’m trying to help him see this, and it has given me some perspective as well.

Perfection shouldn’t be the goal, we should only expect perfection in our efforts.