Thursday, October 8, 2009


It struck me subtly, like a one-degree change in the weather. Hmm, I think it just got one-degree warmer. I was walking between the atrium and the dick building headed to my next class when I realized, Oh my gosh. I'm happy. Now this was not a "OhmygoshI'mhappyanditfeelslikeit'sbeenyears" kind of happy. No no. This was different. It didn't surprise me as if it had never occurred to me that I might be happy. Joy is not so much dependent upon the climate of my life as much my attitude towards it.

I'm a recovering perfectionist. Please don't take offense if you are a perfectionist. Perfection just isn't for me. Maybe it's working for you. Okey dokey. But I reached a point laying facedown on the tiled floor of my bedroom in Cambodia when I decided; perfection was not for me. The progress has been slow, and I'm up and down on this rollercoaster as much as anyone else, but I'm doing my balanced best.

Perfection told me I could not make mistakes, and well, I want the freedom to do so if I want.

Perfection told me I have to get straight A's, and now I'm learning to perform at a more comfortable level that is better for everyone.

Perfection told me I would never be good enough and I should always try harder. Now I'm seeing that I can only live by the standards I set for myself and constantly striving for more and more is no way to live.

This is not a story about having a better attitude, we all have our days. For me, the change has come more from taking deep breaths, from accepting my situation. This is not laziness. This is not giving up on the life I want or compromising what I believe. Happiness is finding me. Contentment settles in my bones like only hot chocolate can, when I remember that I can be whatever I want to be. I can make mistakes. I can hurt people. I can change my outlook. I can get a B. I can sign up for too much and achieve too little. I can eat PB & J until the day I die. I can nourish my body and soul. I look back and think, Whoa, what was I thinking? I can look forward and think, I'm scared. I can observe the present and realize, It's going to be all right.

Some of you may be more laid back then a lounge chair. I'm jealous of you. I'm learning from you. Believe me, I'm taking notes. Some of you may be thinking, Why is letting go so important to her? I wish I had the motivation. Well I've tried on a few things for size. I've tried on the motivated, dedicated, overworked, perfect, stressed, type A, bold, agressive personality, and I have to admit, it was a little itchy. Something always told me, It doesn't have to be this hard. Take a break. So I'm coming at this from the only reality I know. I've lived most of my life in extremes and black-and-whites. I don't want to become lazy, unmotivated, and partial either. I'm seeking balance.

Balance means forgiving myself when I miss a work-out.
Balance means moving on past a C (+!) on my A & P test.
Balance means not trying so hard to get her to like me, because, well, she might not, EVER.
Balance means listening to a friend when I have a dreadfully long to-do list ahead of me.
Balance means accepting the fact that learning guitar might not happen at this stage in my life.
Balance means not knowing the bulleted, mapped out plan for my life.
Balance means eating what my body needs and not what I think it should need.
Balance means being honest about my situation and accepting life as it is, right now.

All-in-all, I believe I am happier becoming a less-structured, less-organized, overworked, perfect version of myself. I'm seeking balance. It's not always comfortable. No basically, it's too loose, like your dads flannel button-up shirts, when you're thinking, This can't be right. But the benefit is; There's room to breathe and there's just something comforting about settling into a place that always feels like home.


Michael said...

Absolutely love the analogy! I was just thinking before I read this, "I need to breath and not let myself get stressed so easily so I can actually enjoy life." We'll get there, it's just a habit.

Ashley said...

I love your description, "more laid back then a lounge chair."

Thank you for writing.