by Mira Reverente
I am a recovering perfectionist.
For the longest time, I have been stuck in the never-ending quest for the perfect childhood, the perfect college, the perfect marriage, the perfect children and so on and so forth.
I blame my dad. Well, partly, but in a good way too. He held me to such high standards during my formative years and demanded excellence in almost all aspects of my life. When I graduated from high school second in my class of a few hundred, his first question was, “Why aren’t you first?” So that set the tone for pretty much the rest of my life.
This summer, I had some realizations. Things no longer have to be perfect. The laundry can wait. The dog doesn’t need to be bathed that often. My house need not be spotless. My daughter can go to bed (much) later than usual. We can have pancakes (or dessert) for dinner. We can binge-watch on Netflix and not feel guilty about it.
Before summer break comes to a screeching halt soon, I realized it’s more important to savor the impromptu trips to the beach, the free days at the museum, the after-dinner walks with our dog, the fresh fruit from our garden–all these little things I overlook and under-appreciate when I am too busy hustling and making a living.
Live your life for yourself, not for others. When you worry what others say or think, you are living your life for other people. In my book, I mentioned that I would have gotten divorced sooner had I not worried about what some family members might think.
Bend some rules sometimes. Repeat after me: “just bend the rules, not the law!” I’ve been straitlaced all my life. It is liberating to not follow the rules sometimes, like eating dessert before dinner, stretching the time between annual physicals or putting your Christmas tree up in September. You get the drift right?
Accept change more easily. When you let go of perfectionism, your ability to accept change increases exponentially. Plans will change. People will cancel and flake on you. Friends will come and go. Your clingy kids will not want to be with you as much during their teen years. Just go with the flow.
You’ll be way happier. When you stop waiting or fighting for people, things or situations to be perfect, you’ll find yourself more content. You are no longer in the sidelines waiting with bated breath because you have learned to let go.
Mira Reverente is associate editor of CVH and a longtime journalist whose work has appeared in many local publications. Her first book on money came out last fall. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for more money savviness tips or check out her new blog.