Thoughtful Words

A Tiny Glimpse into Letting Go of Perfectionism

My Christmas tree is still up. And it’s way past the acceptable timeframe for it to still be standing and decorated.

I was getting a new dishwasher delivered and my babies and I were going to be out of town on an adventure the weekend it was scheduled to be delivered. My awesome neighbor said he would let them in for me. My first thought: I’m going to look like a fool because my Christmas tree is still up. I felt the need to apologize to my neighbor for this… His response was a simple “who cares?” He was right. Why was I apologizing for living my life so fully that I don’t even have time to take down a Christmas tree.

With that said, I really don’t give a shit that my tree is still up and I’ll tell you why:

I’ve been busy with more important things… Like, getting out of town every single chance I get to experience something new. Exploring with my babies. Making impromptu visits to the beach after school to watch the sunset because we just don’t want to go home yet. Getting lost for hours in a bookstore. Earning my latest medal in a trail race. Baking cookies with my daughter or swinging at the park with my son.

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Sure, I can skip out on one of those things and instead take down that damn tree. But… Eh. These experiences and time spent together are far more important and more essential to me and my little family than having it appear that I have my shit perfectly together.

In the past, I have struggled with perfectionism. I wanted it to appear to other people that I could do it all. I didn’t necessarily want to be the perfect mom or wife, it’s just that I wanted it to appear that I was. Constantly striving for this unattainable fake image only left me feeling constantly overwhelmed and anxious. In the past year, I have worked hard on letting go of these unattainable images of myself. Here’s the thing… I am now a single mom and have way more on my plate than I did when I was struggling to appear to have it all, and now I’m rarely ever anxious or overwhelmed… all because I have let go of perfectionism. I just do me and don’t worry about how it appears.

That tree has now become sort of a symbol of my letting go of perfectionism. In letting go of striving for perfection and being upset with myself when I fell short, I have gotten to experience and feel so much more.

During the week I hardly have time for laundry, let alone de-Christmas’ing. When weekends roll around, you can find us… Well, not at home taking down the Christmas tree.

Our weekends are meant for exploring and adventuring. That’s really the only time we have to do those things, so we take full advantage. We try to stick to a routine Monday through Friday. When the weekend comes, all routine goes out the window, along with perfection. And that’s how we like it.

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I walk by my Christmas tree and I’m reminded of why it’s still up. And it’s a pleasant reminder. Perfection is nonexistent and will never be reached. Letting go of whatever picture of perfection we may have is freeing. Even if that means leaving your Christmas tree up for an absurd amount of time.

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