Leanne can be found at Cresting The Hill, where she discusses her midlife journey. Her goal is to share the joys and challenges of this stage of life and counteract the negativity associated with getting older.
Is Your Life Perfect?
I read an interesting blog post by Kathy Gottberg the other day that was titled “the truth behind ‘you create your own reality'” and it made me stop and think about my First World perceptions of life. In her final paragraph she says:
“What if creating our reality is less about making ourselves feel safe, protected and in control and more about trusting that we can be happy and at peace with the uncertainty of life no matter what occurs? Maybe it’s less to do with making sure everything works perfectly in our favor, to instead seeing everything as it unfolds as already perfect.”
Rethinking “reality” has been one of the biggest learning curves I’ve dealt with in midlife. The idea that my reality is different to actual reality was a completely new concept for me to get my head around. My reality was way too perfect and too controlled and needed to be taken down a notch or two – and that was an eye opener.
I had somehow created a world where I expected to live happily ever after, never really touched by pain or hardship or less than perfect families, jobs or friends. It was way past time to do a reality check and realize that what I saw as my entitlement in this life might not be quite so tidily tied with a bow.
True reality is that I need to deal with messy stuff and hurdles – it’s not all Brady Bunch and sunshine and rainbows. Maybe my husband won’t turn out to be superman, maybe he’ll have flaws or failings but does that mean he’s any less worthy of being loved? Maybe our adult children will make choices that we aren’t thrilled about, but does that make them wrong choices? Or even if they are wrong, maybe that’s their life journey that they need to work through without being rescued as soon as they put a foot out of place.
Perfectionism is a killer – it creates unreal expectations, sets us up for disappointment, and failure, and dissatisfaction. It doesn’t allow for human failings and frailties. It holds us in its grasp and slowly strangles the joy and freedom out of our lives. I needed to take Perfectionism by the scruff of the neck and toss it out of my life. I’m replacing it with the word “Enough” because that is all I need and more from life and from the people I love. In fact, “Enough” is my word for 2017!
Life is “perfect” if we choose to look at it that way. Resenting the hiccups that are a part of the big picture doesn’t make them go away – it just turns them into bigger bumps. I always thought I wanted a gently sloping road to travel… smooth under foot and bordered by rolling pastures – but then there would be a lot of adventures that I’d miss along the way. Riding the roller coaster and being in turn scared and exhilarated is what makes life interesting. It would make me less compassionate (an area I need to continually work on) and life would be less real and probably fairly boring.
And so, I’m choosing to take it one day at a time. My planning is minimal and my expectations are at the lower end of the scale. I can’t control how family events turn out, all I can do is love and appreciate people and let them handle their own lives. I don’t want to set up hoops for them to jump through, I don’t want to jump through any of those hoops myself – and if things are less than perfect, I’m sure that they will still be enough and it will be a gift to be gratefully received and enjoyed – I intend to be happy and at peace with the uncertainty of life, no matter what occurs.