Musings on Unreasonably High Expectations

I have to admit something.  More than one somethings, actually.

"freshly pressed" by Rob Slaven  Some Rights Reserved via Flickr CC
“freshly pressed” by Rob Slaven
Some Rights Reserved
via Flickr CC

I would love to open my Tromp Queen page some day to find that one of my posts is featured as FRESHLY PRESSED.  This unspoken (and most likely unreachable) goal has been in my head ever since I first noticed the Freshly Pressed area here in WordPress land.  I’ve written some pretty deeply personal posts — as well as some humorous, some insightful, some crafty — hey, why not me?  (I so humbly ask of myself).

"Flickr Day!" by Murilo Cardoso  Some Rights Reserved
“Flickr Day!” by Murilo Cardoso
Some Rights Reserved

I also post photos on Flickr occasionally.  I would love to find one day that one of my photographs is featured as an EXPLORE image.  (Go to, click the Explore then on the drop down menu choose Recent Photos.) Hundreds are featured each and every day, why not one of mine?  (I so humbly think to myself).  People tell me they really like my photography, that I have a “good eye” — surely it could happen some day, right?

"At Carnegie Hall" by Steven Severinghaus  Some Rights Reserved via FlickrCC
“At Carnegie Hall” by Steven Severinghaus
Some Rights Reserved
via FlickrCC

I’m a musician, too.  A professional pianist, in fact.  I don’t like to admit it even to myself but — I do not like to miss even one single note when I play. If I’m not perfect, it is hard to let go of that one
(or — gasp — more than one)
error.  I know the journey and the process are supposed to be the most important, but deep down inside I want each and every performance to be stellar: perfectly beautiful in every way.  How’s that for putting pressure on yourself?

How does one balance these incredibly unrealistic expectations?

I tend to rely on my old favorites of denial and avoidance.

I make it more difficult on myself by not even admitting that I truly have these hidden goals.  How can I be disappointed if I never admit to having such desires?  Denial.  Works nearly every time.

Avoidance?  Don’t post.  Don’t tag.  Don’t upload photos.  There.  No chance of being disappointed if you don’t try.

Then I hear the voice of my sensible self reminding me of the JOY I experience of just making music, of taking photographs of things that interest/inspire/awe me, and of writing/organizing my thoughts whether anyone hears/sees/reads any of them or not.

I recently read a journal that I was required to keep as part of my student teaching training semester (30 years ago now!).  My supervising teacher told me to always keep high expectations, to never give up, to make the students work to reach my expectations.  She said (this was referring to middle school choir students) that you have to PULL it out of them.  Be strong.  Make your voice heard.

Thankfully, these are the words that I carry in my heart.  I don’t give in to the desire to lower my expectations but I don’t let perfectionism rule my life.  I will not worry about whether or not I’ve reached my goals. I’ll just keep puttering along — working and dreaming — singing and playing.

As always, I aspire to inspire.



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I am a pianist, musician, music teacher, choir director, mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, sister-in-law, friend, neighbor. I enjoy music (of course!), quilting, sewing, beading, traveling, kayaking, camping, biking, hiking, gardening, knitting, scrapbooking, cooking, reading, poetry, drinking good coffee, and having fun with family and friends. NOTE -- Creative Commons License: All work of The Tromp Queen (quirkyjazz, aka Jill) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 Unported License.

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