We all have that fleeting time in our lives where we were (or we now perceive that we were) living optimally. I’ll give you an example. That “perfect” time in my life has a name: my “2007 prime”. In 2007, I was 20 years old. I was training for a half marathon, and was basically unstoppable. Running and constant exercise were my lifeblood. I had energy that rivaled a 5 year-old. When I wasn’t running, I was practicing yoga. When I wasn’t running or practicing yoga, I was hiking. When I wasn’t running, practicing yoga, or hiking, I was meditating…finding myself. I ate mostly vegetarian, had no boys in my life, stayed away from alcohol, and listened to a ton of Jeff Buckley. Whatever that means.
When I think back to that time now, and how I was in the best shape of my life, with hardly an ounce of fat to hinder me…I realize how unfair it is to expect myself to be that way. I was practically a kid then. I’m a woman now, and my body is preparing to have children one day. Not to mention that I wasn’t working at the time, meaning I had all day to focus on myself and exercise. Perfection is a figment of the imagination, and pursuing it relentlessly is exhausting and unhealthy. It sets us up for failure and self-deprecation.
I think the more important thing to remember is to be kind to myself. To celebrate in the small accomplishments, and hunt the good stuff. I could put myself down and dismiss my achievements, letting the critic take over and say, “well, you ran today, but you stopped. You did yoga, but you didn’t balance for very long in pendulum pose, and your chaturanga could really use some work.” OR – (thank goodness there’s an “OR”, right?) I could praise myself, and say: “you know what Steph? You did a great thing for yourself today. Not only did you walk 2 miles on the bike path during your lunch break, but you came home after a long day, practiced yoga diligently, and went for a jog outside, enjoyed nature, and benefited both yourself and your beautiful puppy.”
Which of those statements sounds better? Kind of a silly question when I put it that way…But it’s amazing what we tell ourselves sometimes. I wouldn’t criticize someone else that way, so why should I do it to myself?
The lesson to take away, (and I hope I get better at this) is:
Be where you are right now, and have that be enough.