As a born perfectionist, I’ve learned many things the hard way, or simply put, through the wisdom and experience the gift of aging has provided. I have come to understand and embrace being “perfectly imperfect”.
Many would agree hindsight is 20/20 and it’s something this stage of life gives us. But more importantly, how are we putting hindsight into action and creating positive change in our lives?
For many years, I ignored nattering that constantly ran through the back of my head;
- “I should…”
- “I have to…” or
- “It’s not good enough because…”
Instead, I plowed through without simply stopping at times to think I have a choice: a choice to slow down, to say this is good enough or I am pleased and happy, or God forbid, a choice to say no, that is not going to work for me (AND to not have to give a reason why!). This concept was far from what registered in my personal meter of acceptability.
Then, as I shared in “Freedom of A Quiet Mind”, a hard life lesson hit in 2005. My body screamed STOP, and this time, I had no choice but to finally listen and instill change in my life. Change that deep down inside, I knew was a long time coming but continued to hit the snooze button on (I ignored it completely).
Many years have passed since then, and when I look back I’m proud of how my thinking, expectations, and actions have shifted, including healthy coping mechanisms I adopted. Having said that, I am especially reminded that keeping it real, less is more, and being perfectly imperfect is totally acceptable – especially as high pressure of the holiday season and Christmas looms closer.
This is a time of year where we’re susceptible to societal demands of the season, schedules and expectations, and trying to do it all and be everywhere for everyone. When I refer to everywhere and everyone – I mean places we do not have to be and people we really do not have to be with. We tend to convince ourselves we should because it is the season, and who doesn’t love a festive party invitation (or two, or twelve)?
So, as the hustle and bustle of the season approaches and you begin to populate your calendar, I challenge you to:
- define what your perfectly imperfect is,
- understand what your body needs to stay healthy, so you can enjoy the beauty and spirit of the season,
- identify how much perfectionism needs to exist in the way you prepare your home, the number of gifts you purchase, and the number of events you attend,
- decide how you want to spend this time, and
- decide who you want to spend it with and what that looks like, because it is an investment in yourself and the ones you love.
- Hint: If you can’t fit it all in, there’s always the quieter time of January to pick up some of those special visits and toast a new year.
Most importantly, follow through and be present with friends and loved ones. Put the phones away (unless for capturing memories in photos!) and don’t forget to consider the magic of the quiet moments, such as watching a great holiday movie with your family.
Why? Because sharing the simple pleasures of the season with friends and loved ones is what it’s really about. And… because we can!
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Feature Photo – Silas Chipelski, Coat Lennard Taylor
Photos: Casey Nolin Photography