I’ve been thinking a lot about the pressure we place on ourselves and each other. I love the variations of this meme:
Aren’t we all trying to survive and be happy?
The idea of “doing it all” is a load of bullshit. There will always be something neglected. Maybe you’re excelling at work, but you haven’t been on a date with your significant other in months (or longer). Maybe you have weekly date nights and your career is advancing but your house is a mess and you don’t remember if you have girlfriends or have only seen your nephew one time the whole year. Maybe your personal life is finally clicking but you can’t get to work on time. Or you received the much-deserved promotion but have experienced shitty date after shitty date. You have the cleanest house, well-behaved kids, a great job, but can’t remember the last time you had sex with your husband. Your kids survive on takeout because you work 60+ hours a week. Everything else is perfect but you’re unable to have kids. Or meet new friends. Or date. Or get out of your parents’ basement. Or advance your education or career.
Most of us are living some version of the aforementioned lives, right?
Being an adult is hard. You must pay bills. You have to go grocery shopping and plan and prepare meals. Some days you have to go to the bank or pick up a prescription or renew your driver’s license at the court house. There are appointments and never-ending meetings and financial woes and pap smears and colonoscopies and illness and lost checks and late notices and broken appliances and you almost always forget something at the store. There’s never enough stamps or chicken broth or time in the day. You never know what to cook for dinner. Something will always be off, even when things are going well.
We often glorify busyness. But when life is overwhelming, the things that make me happy are often neglected. My blog is usually the first to go: it’s a hobby for me – something I started when I was grieving the loss of a friend. But it’s not my job and if I don’t have the time (or energy), I don’t make the time. Friends are neglected, too. When work and life take over, I struggle to maintain relationships. It’s one of my biggest flaws. I cancel dinner plans, forget to text back, stop checking in, hurt feelings. Our house gets messy. We eat a lot of pizza. I accept hours in front of the tv for date nights. I go a month without seeing my niece. We can overwhelm ourselves to the point that we let go of the things that bring us joy.
It’s okay to sit and relax and be. It’s okay to let go of the idea of perfection and never screwing up. It’s okay to change into your pajamas at 5:00 pm and drink cider while watching The Real Housewives. It’s okay to go to bed at 7:30 with dishes in the sink and laundry in the washer and no blog post scheduled. It’s okay to take a vacation day. It’s okay to say no, to disengage, to turn off your phone. It’s okay to laugh and have fun. We could all use more joy. It’s okay to trade one dream for another. It’s okay to strive for pure happiness instead of the unattainable (and unrealistic) goal of having it all. Life will never be perfect. But it can be pretty damn close.