This year, I’m trying reasonableness on. It feels radical.
It feels radical, probably because I’m a recovering perfectionist.
Before I had kids, I used to refold towels the Martha Stewart way. Now I’m just grateful for clean towels.
But that doesn’t mean that I gave up perfectionism in other things.
My normal m.o. is (was?) to read a nonfiction book on something—exercise plan, diet plan, financial freedom plan, marketing plan, organizational plan—and follow it precisely…until it doesn’t work anymore.
And it doesn’t work anymore because life.
I was paleo for about a year and a half, until I just wanted a taco. I am a mom with kids who don’t want to eat keto. I was vegetarian for a long time. And don’t get me started on tracking Weight Watchers points.
I exercised three times a week with a trainer until he quit. And then my other one quit. And then I got injured. I’ve tried Tracy Anderson method, yoga, Pilates, spinning, aquafit, and boxing.
I have a husband who wants to go take a trip to Home Depot, which isn’t on my calendar. I plan a day at work and then it all changes with a phone call.
And maybe I feel like messing around on Facebook instead of doing something that’s good for me.
Previously, I’ve considered all of those things to be failures. I didn’t follow the plan. I stopped, for whatever reason, and didn’t start again.
So, I’ve decided to try on reasonableness.
What that means is I’ve decided to be gentler on myself and to trust myself. Those things are extremely hard.
Being gentler on myself means that I’m not always wrong.
That’s what feels radical.
I’m used to being wrong and having someone else be the expert. That diet guru? They know more than me. They have science to back up their findings. I mean, look at them! They look better than me. The organizational master? The soulful teacher? They make it look easy.
I’m at the stage, though, where I’ve read a lot, and I kind of know what works and what doesn’t. What if I put down the didactic approach, the harsh approach, and be more flexible?
What is right for me now?
What if I trust myself to make good decisions?
I don’t know how this is going to end, but this shift in focus is making me enjoy the journey a whole lot more.
Because if I give up the idea that I’m always wrong, then what happens is that I have to make my own decisions. Is it really a good idea for me to spend money on new blank journals? (Maybe, maybe not.) Should I eat the taco? (Yes, if I’m hungry for it.)
Being gentle to myself feels like what I wanted when I followed the gurus. It feels like a warm hug and a soothing blanket and a refreshing drink. A bubble bath and a good book. A brisk walk in the neighborhood.
It feels like getting to work on time, doing it, and leaving early because I earned it.
It’s strange that being gentle on myself is a radical step.
But I’m willing to do it.