Before talking about anything weight loss related, I wanted to share some pictures from my adventures this past weekend for a life update. On Sunday my roomie and I set off to see the Oregon Coast, one of the many places around here that I have to see. (I’m starting to think I have too many people and places I want to see.)
She drove and of course I was very excited about that.
Then we reached the water and I was even more excited because I love the water and beaches like this one. I really wanted to sit on a log and build a fire and just take a nap on the beach, but we didn’t end up doing that.
Instead we flew a kite!
Or at least we tried to. This photo is one of the better moments with the kite. More often than not it was crashing into the sand and refusing to fly. It was an ornery owl kite. Owls must not like to fly.
I got to see some seals, which I’ve never seen outside of the zoo before. That was exciting. The only thing that could have been better was seeing a whale. That’s one thing I’ve yet to see in person but really want to.
Despite my seal imitations, none swam across to hang out with me. How disappointing.
We walked along the beach for a while, kicking sand, dragging the kite, and just enjoying it. It was a beautiful day after all.
And even with the cold(ish) wind blowing all around me, I was super happy for the chance to go to the beach.
After I looked out onto the water and waved to New Zealand, we walked back and explored a bit. Those explorations led to watching seagulls build a nest and buying some saltwater taffy. The day ended with watching a movie at the drive in.
Days like that? Great.
But it feels like it’s always marred by something. And that something is me. In my head I worry about what I look like, because my jeans are too tight. I worry about what I’m eating, because I have to blog about it eventually and it should be healthy (it wasn’t). I worry about whether or not I’m fun enough, because I hope I’m not boring my friend by forcing her to play tour guide. I worry about a bunch of things all day long until at the end of an awesome day I’m mentally exhausted with myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun. But that day made me realize how pervasive this kind of thinking is. It’s something that snuck up on me when I wasn’t expecting it.
As I was writing this post I came across an article from Elizabeth Gilbert on failure and living well (I procrastinate while blogging and end up reading lots of articles) where she says:
Nearly all the women I know are stressing themselves sick over the pathological fear that they simply aren’t doing enough with their lives. Which is crazy—absolutely flat-out bananas—because the women I know do a lot, and they do it well.
She talks about some of her friends who are doing amazing things with their lives and says,
By all rights, every one of these clever, inventive women should be radiant with self-satisfaction. Instead, they twitch with near-constant doubt, somehow worrying that they are failing at life.
It’s terribly frustrating for me to witness this endless second-guessing. The problem is, I do it, too. Despite having written five books, I worry that I have not written the right kinds of books, or that perhaps I have dedicated too much of my life to writing, and have therefore neglected other aspects of my being. (Like, I could really stand to lose 10 pounds.)
Here’s the deal: I’m just like those women. I want to be perfect and live my life perfectly.
I want to know that I’m making the right choices and doing the right things and not messing up my life. I chose my path and it’s an awesome one, but I’m constantly second guessing myself. Should I be working full time? Will anyone even read my blog if I don’t lose weight? Am I just going to be a failed blogger? Should I be traveling so much? I constantly second guess every decision I make and doubt myself in my ability to do something right. I want to be perfect and can’t stand the thought of failing at anything, especially failing at my life.
But Gilbert is a smart lady. She knows we need to lighten up on ourselves and the expectations we create.
So here’s what I want to know: Can we lighten up a little?
As we head into this next decade, can we draft a joint resolution to drop the crazy-making expectation that we must all be perfect friends and perfect mothers and perfect workers and perfect lovers with perfect bodies who dedicate ourselves to charity and grow our own organic vegetables, at the same time that we run corporations and stand on our heads while playing the guitar with our feet?
When I look at my life and the lives of my female friends these days—with our dizzying number of opportunities and talents—I sometimes feel as though we are all mice in a giant experimental maze, scurrying around frantically, trying to find our way through. But maybe there’s a good historical reason for all this overwhelming confusion. We don’t have centuries of educated, autonomous female role models to imitate here (there were no women quite like us until very recently), so nobody has given us a map. As a result, we each race forth blindly into this new maze of limitless options. And the risks are steep. We make mistakes. We take sharp turns, hoping to stumble on an open path, only to bump into dead-end walls and have to back up and start all over again. We push mysterious levers, hoping to earn a reward, only to learn—whoops, that was a suffering button!
To make matters even more stressful, we constantly measure ourselves against each other’s progress, which is a truly dreadful habit.
I’m not going to be perfect. Maybe I’ll always need to lose more weight. Maybe I’ll always be short on money and time. Maybe I’ll never be the best or most popular blogger. Maybe I’ll always have something else I could be doing with my time and my life. But I need to drop the expectations. I need to stop destroying great days with the second guessing and doubt. I need to be myself, authentically me, and not worry about if it’s not good enough for other people or even my own crazy expectation. I need to stop worrying if I’m not good enough for you. Because I am. There is definitely no map for my life, no instructions on how to get it right, but I’m trying and that’s all I can do.
Great days need to be just great days, nothing more.