In the Interest of Participation, Throwing Perfection Out the Window

There are certain things I look for in a blog. There are so many out there competing for my attention – life is too short, even for an autodidact who would like nothing better than a life spent ingesting information found online. Anyway, my personal high standards have kept me from publishing, or even writing anything for far too long. I read, I comment, I share the thoughts of others, but more and more there is a feeling that I’m missing out by not allowing myself to share my own thoughts and experiences. 

So here it goes. An experiment in just getting it OUT THERE. Hoping that people won’t judge me as harshly as I imagine they will. Here is my first sketch of a blog post.

As our intro post explains, I’m back in my home state, bouncing back and forth between Minneapolis and Saint Paul and slowly involving myself with the nonprofit world. The Twin Cities have an amazingly rich arts scene, the museums, music, art and culture offer so many opportunities. Every week there are so many concerts and shows and exhibitions and experiments. One that crossed my path is an arts ambassador program called Theoroi. It’s the brain child of The Schubert Club, an arts organization with a long tradition of nurturing musical performance in Saint Paul. The 2012 – 2013 season of Theoroi includes music, dance, and theater performances at some of the many excellent venues the Twin Cities house. The first event was a Delfeayo Marsalis show at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis, and as soon as I make sense of my jumbled notes and distill my varied emotions, you can expect a post describing that experience.

Going back to participation, though I have always been glued to the internet, over the past year my interaction waned. Self consciousness and negativity held me back from interacting with all but my closest friends. Shutting myself off from the world makes little sense, especially when I think back to how isolated I felt in Baltimore. Isolation fed loneliness, fed feelings of insignificance, and a disgusting spiral of lameness kept me from reaching out. Back in Minnesota, surrounded by people who know me well and who call me on it when I start to retreat from society, I’ve decided to focus on the social. Step one was actually being SOCIAL on social media. Tweeting, conversing, commenting, putting good out and taking in the interesting, positive and fun.

Step two was involving myself with some local arts organizations and seeking mentors. I’ve connected with some wonderful, passionate, fun people. Building up a network of mentors and friends has been easier than I imagined, but my old friendships suffered, and now comes the difficult task of balancing old and new, professional and social, not neglecting and not taking on too many projects.

A few weeks ago I attended the Minnesota Association of Museums annual meeting and it was a revelation. Finding a place in the museum community has always felt like a insurmountable challenge, as I’m interested in all subjects and all areas – science, history, art, collections, education, technology. But I realized–talking with people, listening, attending sessions–that my dream to focus on visitors, community, education and technology is not as impossible as it seemed in 2008. This is hopefully a teaser to another post about the meeting and about this revelation.

I’m not a multitasker by nature, but focusing on one group of friends, one type of music, one genre of books, one city, one professional focus has never appealed to me. So it’s time to figure out how to balance it all and not exhaust myself with the effort. Letting go of perfection and pushing myself to participate will hopefully help me find balance and momentum.

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One thought on “In the Interest of Participation, Throwing Perfection Out the Window

  1. This is great, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought the same thing about life being too short, the importance of letting go, and just allowing myself to pull the trigger on so many things. So, what I mean to say is I’m glad we’re blogging again. It’s the perfect time for both of us… and that is the kind of perfectionism that I’m okay with!

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