I wonder what happens after I reach perfection in whatever crazy direction I’m striving? What’s next? Is that the end or is there always more to gain, more to work for, more to obsess over, a new direction to work for perfection?
Funny, those were my thoughts about a year ago. A lot has changed in year, mostly me, and I’m finding that I like what I see in the mirror. Whether I was trying to be the perfect teacher, runner, wife, daughter, friend, “nutrition advice giver when asked”, Farmville player, Kitty Momma, or coffee maker, it was never enough. There was never an end. I felt like a hamster in a wheel. A medicore hamster in the wheel of elusive perfection that was just out of reach. I was living my life in moments of “when I ___________, then I’ll be happier”. Little did I know that while I was striving and WAITING, I was missing out on so much more.
Gradually, I have learned to notice the perfect moments. The sweaty out of breath minutes after a hard goal race. The look on a child’s face when he realizes that he’s a reader. That first sip of hot chocolate in fall. Hearing my father-in-law take his last breath. Being there when I look in my father’s eyes, mirrors of my own eyes, after he crawls back from death. Seeing the last seconds tick off the National Championship football game when my team won. Grass under my feet. My husband’s hand holding mine at a frigid graveside. The first time I held my nephew. Remembering the first time I held my sister. Taking a GREAT picture. Clean gulf water rushing over my feet. My first taste of almond butter. And tomatoes on a sandwich. The first time a non-English speaking child calls be my name instead of “teacher”. My first experience at Sal and Mookies. Watching my mother waltz around her brand new kitchen that she’s waited years for. My Grandmother’s enchiladas. Frankie sleeping peacefully. I could go on and on.
I’ve learned to go easy on myself. And I’ve learned that I can be my own worst enemy. I’m super competitive with myself and while that’s not always a bad thing, it is when I never felt like I achieved anything. All of my accomplishments and goals I’ve reached were met with thoughts such as “I did it …BUT….I could have done it better faster more precise, all A’s, etc”. I was never good enough. And I was tearing myself apart at the ripe old age of 33-34.
Not anymore. When I crossed the finish line of a trail half marathon, I was ecstatic. Later, I started nitpicking about times and aid stations but I stopped going down that road. Instead, I thought about the views from the top, the sound of the waterfall, the fact that I finished HEALTHY. Those perfect moments that I have overlooked for years. Those moments of contentment.
Tonight, contentment is a cup of hot chocolate.
When was your last perfect moment?