Some say the greatest efforts we make should not be concerned with results. By some I am referring to those who strive for that inner peace. I love this idea. It sounds so peaceful. So noble. Like if I screw something up royally that it’s all good because at least I tried. Close your eyes for a second. I want you to picture in your mind the current state of your life. Let’s all pretend to hold hands for a minute and take an internal assessment. Soul searching requires a good hand hold. What type of personality do you bring to the proverbial table? Do you stand at the pillars of greatness with those who seem to ooze perfection and rainbows? Does everything you touch turn to gold? Are your life plans etched in stardust? Deep inhale in. Pinterest was not created FOR you. Rather, it was created BY you and other over achievers. Are you one of these people? And exhale out.
If you can do no wrong, I tip my hat to you. Because when I breathe real deep and take that internal life assessment, my right eye starts to twitch. For serious. And I don’t do hand holding very well. Even the pretend kind. Because I’m probably thinking about whether or not you’ve washed your hands lately. I spend enough time around small children to know that germs are a thing.
I don’t suppose any of us will ever understand all unspoken laws of the Universe. Like why some people just continue to make their journey down the yellow brick road look so annoyingly easy. Most of my life has involved a least a fraction of “worst case scenario” come true. It’s amazing that many of us remain as optimistic as we do, considering the highs and lows of this crazy life. I fall into this category. I love the idea of having a Zen state of mind. Watching the train wrecks of life just come and go without reacting to them sounds amazing. However, my emotions and I continue to ride the Bipolar Express. I continue to attempt being that perfectly organized Martha Stewart. And life continues to serve me a good throat punch every now and then to remind me that I will never fit into that Type A persuasion. So here’s the good news. I do have a sense of humor.
Some times, scratch that, A LOT of times I can plan out every little necessary detail for my life and invariably it will all still go to Hades. No amount of Pinteresting can save me. Perhaps you are smirking right now. You can relate to this. Are we having a “Namaste” moment? My imperfect soul will acknowledge yours and then we’ll all get on our merry ways. Ready? Here we go.
My Diet – Vegan, gluten free, dairy free, paleo, ramen noodles because I was in college and had no money, grapefruits and hot dogs only for two months – So many choices these days. I am your classic diet failure. I have this love for cooking, entertaining, and all things food. This makes trying to lose a little bit of poundage harder than pretty much anything else I’ve ever done. The more I plan, the more I self-sabotage. I find myself wondering if reverse psychology would be successful. Like, what if I told myself to eat all the chocolates and drink all the wines? Would the angel on my right shoulder guide me in the right direction? Probably not. More than likely the devil on the left would give me a high five and toss me a Hershey’s.
And also, stress eating. HELLO! Who doesn’t need a carton of ice cream and 12 Oreos after a really rough work day? This is ointment for my soul. This is my Balm in Gilead. I’m sorry – the kale smoothies that I have convinced the semi-grown up version of myself to drink at least once a day don’t wipe away tears. They do not. You will find me slumped over my desk double fisting Skittles some days and cursing the little 21 Day Fix containers, still in my lunchbox, that I want to set on fire.
My Schedule – If you are a parent you will appreciate this one. Because, you see, after giving birth life is no longer about you. The Dr. should really do you a solid and hand you a Life Manual as your tiny miracle is exiting the birth canal. It would have saved me so many “You’re doing it wrongs”. Your schedule does not matter anymore. Nor does your hairstyle, your reddest lipstick, or your need for basic things like sleep and showers. Rather, you must find ways to squeeze your schedule around the little people that consume your love and also your time. No regrets here. My kids are my whole world. Scouts honor. But some days are harder than others to remember your own identity when trying to raise productive and respectable members of society.
Plan all you want for that perfect day. You know, the one where you get up early enough to exercise before work. Your boss thinks you are one of those rainbow oozing people I brought up earlier. Your kids are so kind and well-mannered all the time. They never whine. You leave work and take nothing home with you because you have everything all done! You sit around that dinner table and enjoy a perfect pot roast on fine china. You get the kids to all sports practices on time. Homework and baths are done by 7 o’clock. The kids willingly jump into bed, smiling at 9 p.m. And then you get to sleep shortly after, still looking like a beauty queen in full makeup. Because that’s how we all look going to bed. Right? Slow clap for you.
In your freaking dreams. I recently left work with a migraine that made me want to gouge out my left eye. This was bad enough. Then my son got sick on the drive home and threw up in the backseat. It was projectile enough to hit the back of my head. This is real life.
My Budget – I’m a big fan of simplifying in this area. I actually enjoy getting all of the bills out once in a while and combing through how much I owe and to whom. I make big plans. Huge. I will pay X amount on my ridiculous college loans before the next decade. Then I shall attack with vigilance that car loan and that mortgage! I’ll be debt free and big pimpin’ soon. All teachers and other college grads who hover so gracefully along the living wage lines aspire to such, right?
Also it is important to note that Dave Ramsey is right and I should probably cut up my credit cards into a million little pieces. I can write all of these big plans for my budget out. I can allot certain amounts for groceries and gas every month. It looks simple on paper. But there’s this thing called impulse control and it’s a beast. And shopping is so darn easy these days. All I have to do is check my e-mail or click on the right link. I get overcome by “ooh-shiny” and start typing in my credit card number. I’m sorry, Dave! I’ve failed you. Again.
My Coveted Sleep – Maybe you have kids. Maybe you have finals to study for. Maybe you just have insomnia. Whatever it is, a lot of us plan to get to sleep earlier and it doesn’t happen. Life gets in the way a lot, but I also blame technology. Don’t get me wrong. I love the gadgets of today’s world. I love how connected we are as a planet. A lot of good has come from the opportunities right here at our fingertips. I don’t think some people even realize the doors that could open for them out here in the cyberworld. But here’s where I fail. I plan every night to go to bed and get a full night’s sleep. Instead, I find myself lying in bed scrolling mindlessly through social media. Before I know it, it is way past bed time and I have jumped down so many rabbit holes that I’m looking at vacation pictures circa 2006 of the cousin’s cousin of some dude I knew in high school. Or going through the ‘suggested friends’ list on and trying to figure out why on earth they would suggest this person to be my friend. Like, seriously? Why do we do this? Don’t act like you haven’t! So, in short resolve to shut down the technology by a certain time every night if it’s one of your vices, too.
My Zen – By the end of every work week I faceplant in this area. I’ve read the books. I’ve listened to the podcasts. I’ve even attempted the meditations. Plan all you want. But, at least for me, life moves at light speed most days. And I struggle to not lose my shiz when things don’t work out the way they are supposed to. So here’s a new idea. Are you ready? Plan to fail.
Yep. You heard me.
Not all the time, but make an allowance for it. Your train is going to derail every once in a while. Those people who post perfect cakes, and hot workout bodies, and DIY furniture that looks so easy on Pinterest. Those people do not exist. So stop comparing your entire existence to them. On the other side of all of that fluff is probably a normal person just like you and I who happens to be really good at something, but also has their own circus of drama and parody. I like the Robert Pirsig quote that “The only Zen at the top of the mountain is the Zen you bring with you.” If we can make this a mantra and laugh at the dysfunction when it comes to call, I think we’ll all make it through the week alive.