My fellow December birthday folks, isn’t it just the best? Now my birthday month is filled with cheerfulness, beautiful decorations, kindness from strangers, etc; but it also hits the “reflection on life” with a double whammy. I’m already in that I’m about to turn whatever number it is that year, and reflecting on what I’ve accomplished, failed at, or am working on; but then I’m also hit with the end of the year reflection. So in true December fashion, I have been in total reflecton mode the last couple of days.
First let me say, I could care less how old I am, age doesn’t bother me. We all have to do it, and if nothing else I get a little better with age. I wouldn’t go back to another year and redo it if you asked me to, if you paid me to maybe, but not just to relive it and do it over. All of it has got me to the place I am right now, and while not perfect, its still a good place for me to be in.
So as I was driving along, I realized all this time I’ve been thinking about perfection and trying to do everything just right. What if for once I just admitted I was failing? What if I took the pressure off of myself and realized I was failing? Now I’m not saying everything I do is a failure or that I’m not perfecting certain aspects of my life, but none the less I’m failing just like the rest of the nearly 8 billion people on the planet, and that’s ok. None of us are perfect, so why not reflect on how we have overcome our failures and celebrate the fact that we are resilliant, growing, ever changing humans and that is wonderful place to be.
I sat down to write, I wasn’t sure if I’d write about my failures, the things I’d accomplished despite those failures, or the fact that I’m currently in a phase of my life contemplating a complete change. As I opened my drafts I saw this little gem. I found it quite ironic that I’d forgotten about this, but clearly the idea of perfection has been plaguing me for some time. This was a draft from earlier this year. Though I never finished it, I felt like now was a good time to share this little exert.
The perfect song at the perfect time…I was driving home from dropping the kids off at school, already dressed to go to the gym. My body hurts, the weather is icky and everything just hurts, isn’t getting older awesome. UGH! The last couple of months I have been VERY sporadic with work outs and my nutrition has been, well lets just say…ugly! Actually walking back into the gym after almost 2 months of barely being there is going to take A LOT of courage. As I was convincing myself that a run in the misty rain might just be a better option then facing all 5 people that might be at the gym when I arrive, this song came on…”Perfect” by Pink
I pulled into the driveway and sat and just listened. This song is on my running play list as well. It always use to help push me at just the right moments, but today I listened in a different way. This time after listening it reminded me of a quote
“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”
-Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let go of Who you Think You’re Suppose to Be and Embrace Who You Are
It was then that things hit me again like a they often do, BAM a ton of bricks falling on me, this issue I’m having isn’t even all about my lack of workouts and crappy nutrition. I’ve been walking around in a complete funk for the last two months. I was gifted an opportunity to take the reins of my life and decide what I wanted to do moving forward. My contract ended with a project I had been working on for a few years. It was ok, helped pay the bills, but was anything but rewarding. However, instead of being able to take that gift and run with it, I have walked in circles avoiding choosing anything, fear of failure, fear of not making the perfect decision. Instead I busied myself working on a project with a friend for the next six weeks. Ironically I left that experience feeling very fulfilled and happy, making the decisions ahead even harder.
Often times I think we all just get caught up in being perfect. Looking perfect to the world, whether physically, financially, emotionally, or otherwise; that we forget the process. When I stop trying to be “perfect” and look back at past experiences and the process, I realize how much more important the process is.
“We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”
So whether you are fellow December birthday person, or just reflecting on the last month of the year/decade; I hope that we can all remember that everyone one of us is failing, its simply what we do with those failure that ultimately matters. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from taking the next step toward something you really want. Stop trying to be perfect and start embracing your failures, grow from them, share them to help others in similar situations, surround yourself with the people who will embrace your imperfections and failures to help you grow; and above all always remember you are perfectly imperfect just the way you are!