The following is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!
The Monday of Christmas week is a special kind of day, i.e., the day when you realize that as much as you may think you’re on top of the details of holiday giving, decorating and entertaining, you’re kidding yourself.
I dumped all my Christmas gifts on the bed the other evening to get a bird’s eye view of everything I’ve bought so far. And despite a successful last minute shopping push on Friday, there were still a lot of holes to fill. Yes, I had enough Christmas gifts for my niece and nephew, but my nephew’s birthday is on December 23rd, necessitating extra presents. And yes, I have enough gifts for my 14-year-old son, but I also drew his name in the holiday gift exchange with my in-laws.
Is it ever enough? And really, who am I comparing myself to? Am I trying to be better than these people or trying to be as good as those? Is there anyone out there who models that standard of perfection in real life?
I follow a local blog called Frugal Living NW mostly because the authors are mightily clued into the tricks of frugal living in Portland. But a column from the other day jumped out at me. Unlike the bloggers whose homes are always clean, meals are always healthfully delicious and whose lives seem to smoothly flow without incident, this column showed actual true to life messiness:
“Why do I post all of this? Sometimes I read blogs written by other women and think, ‘How do they do all of this?’ (whatever ‘this’ happens to be). I see one thing that someone is doing well and assume that the rest of her life is just as ‘perfect.’
I’m here to tell you it’s not. All of us let laundry pile up until we run out of clean underwear. All of us have a bag of garbage in the kitchen, waiting to be taken out, in my case for two days. And even the most precious Christmas picture requires 134 attempts (I still haven’t sent them out).
We want Frugal Living NW to be an encouragement to each of you, not a source of guilt or frustration. If you don’t have time to do a deal, let it go. Spending time with your family, taking a nap and staying sane is more important than taking advantage of every saving opportunity.”
Thank you. I know I can’t possibly be the only person whose clean laundry waits to get put away until the baskets are needed for the next round of laundry. Whose living room is decorated and camera ready, but has a bedroom that resembles a post-hurricane docu-drama.
Whether we admit it or not, we all compare ourselves to others. And I am hardly immune. I admire in others what I know to be lacking in myself. A friend whose house is always immaculate, a fellow soccer Mom whose slim figure fills out her stylish jeans just so. But here’s the important part, when I actually get to know these people I see that they are flawed in ways that balance things out.
Nobody is perfect. Nobody. And in this week where we try and be all things to all people, we need to recognize that we can do our best and it’s still never enough. I will get enough gifts for everyone on my list, but my bedroom will still be a mess.
Because the goal of perfection is an imperfect goal.
Do the holidays leave you feeling frustrated because you’re unable to tick off every box on your to-do list? Or are you that rare individual who’s able to provide perfection for everyone, all the while filling in your designer jeans just so? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
And if you are that perfect person, please keep it to yourself. I hate you.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
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