Monday, 12 September 2016

MIDLIFE ROCKS! ~ Who Cares What They Think?

MIDLIFE ROCKS! ~ There has to come a time when you say to yourself "Who Cares What They Think?"

PERFECTIONISM

The culmination of a lot of things happened for me when I reached midlife. One of the biggest of these was to stop my need for everything to be perfect. I had perfectionism on a pedestal it did not deserve to be on. Perfectionism sucks big time! I was so busy trying to have my Brady Bunch life that I almost missed out on having the life I really deserved.

These are a few of the things I was trying to be:

  • the perfect woman - no pressure here - just all things to all people - wife, housewife, mother, career woman, church goer, friend, all the balls in the air at the same time and dropping none.
  • the perfect wife - no complaining, house immaculate, interesting conversation, great sex, fun company, equal partner, co-worker - Carol Brady eat your heart out.
  • the perfect mother - well rounded kids, well spaced family, no yelling, no upsets, no upheavals, warmth, peace, love, and eat your vegetables - we won't even ask my kids how all that went down!
  • the perfect grandmother - still working on that one but wanting to be there when I'm too far away, wanting her to know me, wanting to be a great role model, wanting to have fun times - and the poor child is only 4 months old!
  • the perfect daughter - great relationships with my parents, the caring adult daughter, visiting, calling, caring, listening - passed some of this and failed dismally in some areas (who doesn't cry at their father's funeral? I bet Marcia Brady would have!)
  • the perfect sister - I have two brothers, we talk infrequently, have nothing in common, don't bother to connect, participate in "happy families" once a year at Christmas and ignore each other for the rest of the year. Not exactly close!
  • the perfect friend - available at any moment to drop everything and be there, warm, fuzzy, making casseroles, babysitting the kids, handing out profound thoughts and advice - big fail here....my friends have to settle for conversation and a laugh and hopefully that's enough!
  • the perfect life - great job, kids living around the corner, money to burn, great travel destinations every few months, perfect marriage, not a care in the world - I'm not even going to try to compare what I have with that list!

You can’t let people scare you. You can’t go your whole life trying to please everyone else. You can’t go through life worried about what everyone else is going to think.

BEING REAL

The thing is, all of these perfect pictures hinge on what I think I should look like to others. The life I think I am expected to be living to appear to have succeeded. All my ducks lined up and following along in my wake without a quack out of place. And you know what? Real life is NOTHING like that - real life is not about perfection and trying to present a perfect face to the world to show others how well you're doing.

Real life is about being a real person, it's about doing your best to be all that you feel you're capable of. Some days that can mean a lot and other days it means you made it out of bed before lunch time (or is that just me?) It's not about what other people think or how you imagine they are judging you. Most people are too busy keeping their own s**t together to be worrying about mine. They are happy for me to be happy. They have their own less than perfect lives to be getting on with - they are perfectly happy for me to get on with my own.

PEOPLE PLEASING

SO MANY YEARS of trying to be the perfect everything - it's exhausting when I think about it! It has some benefits - aiming high meant that, on the whole, things worked out pretty well because I put in a lot of effort and there is a degree of reward in that. What is also does though, is suck the joy out of the whole thing. When you are so busy trying to get everything right and keep all those balls in the air, you miss out on the little pleasures along the way. 

Now I don't care what people think, I don't care if my life isn't what you would expect. I don't even try to explain myself much anymore. If someone wants to judge, that is their problem and coming from a place of weakness on their part. It has NOTHING to do with me. My responsibility is solely to myself and my family and friends. All I have to do is what feels right to me and to allow others their imperfections along the way. If we all act in grace and with love, we aren't judging or being judged, we're just living this life in the best way possible and that works for me.

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MIDLIFE ROCKS! ~ There has to come a time when you say to yourself "Who Cares What They Think?"

38 comments:

  1. Oh wow. So true! Why is it we don't get this wisdom until we are middle aged? I would have done so well living it in my 20s!

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    1. I wanted it back then too - luckily I didn't realize what I was missing out on or it would have been worse!

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  2. We WERE SISTERS IN ANOTHER LIFE LEANNE!!! All you have said is how I was and to a certain degree still working on. I think we are products of our generation - we certainly haven't put the perfectionism pressure on our children and they are doing just fine. Love your series.

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    1. I think we were sisters too Sue - we're walking such similar paths and working on the same issues - I just wish I could run like you - my body could do with it!

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  3. Love this post Leanne ... love your attitude!

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    1. Thanks Linda - midlife brings with it a certain degree of "who gives a toss?!" :)

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  4. Hear! Hear! To have mastered this 30 years ago! Born people pleaser here and learning every day. Thanks Leanne!
    https://meinthemiddlewrites.com/

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    1. Me too Mary Lou - I wish I'd understood it earlier too, but it's never too late is it?

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  5. Yes yes yes. I thought I was here long before mid life. And I was. But not at all to the extent I am now.

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    1. I think we just keep getting better at it Carla - we seem to become more "ourselves" as we get the hang of it!

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  6. It is just too time consuming and exhausting to be perfect! Good for you to kick perfection to the curb and move on!!

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    1. It is a complete waste of time and effort really Haralee - I just wish I figured it out sooner :)

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  7. I never had this syndrome and thank GOD I didn't! Perfection, bah!
    carol

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    1. That's why you are on my role model list Carol - you just have such a sassy "who gives a hoot" attitude and I love it!

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  8. There is no such thing as.... Lovely list and reminder.

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    1. It took me a while to figure it out though Anna :)

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  9. I love this so much and really needed these words today. Thanks for a great post!

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    1. My pleasure Lisa - it's so easy to fall back into the trap of trying too hard and we slowly kill ourselves in the process. It's so lovely letting it all go.

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  10. As I read through the list of Perfections, I realized I've missed the mark on all of them. However I'm not a grandmother so that one doesn't count). Portraying to the world a perfect life seems excruciating, and yet, it is so often done via social media. Like you, I gave up trying to appear perfect years ago. I can finally exhale.

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    1. It is excruciating Glenda - it's a bit like your lovely fashion pics - perfect on social media, but I bet there's a lot that never see the light of day. That's life really isn't it and time we all embraced it :)

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  11. You've nailed it so perfectly (no pun!), I don't know what to say except, YES!

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    1. It's a definite hang up for a lot of our generation Lee - and so lovely to let it all go and just "be"

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  12. I read so much of myself in this post, I've always been a people pleaser, measuring my "success" by keeping everyone happy. Trying unsuccessfully to make everyone like me and agonizing when they didn't. As I've gotten older, that trait is getting easier to overcome but it's still there, trying to surface. And truth! Most people are just trying to keep their own lives together to really care about yours!

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    1. Exactly Rosie! It is so ingrained into us isn't it? That need to try to keep everyone happy because then we'll be happy - and to be liked by everyone. It is really a wearying way to live and so nice to let a lot of it go - I still have bits hanging around to work on though!

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  13. Leanne, Oh yes. Wanting to be all things to all people is exhausting. Its so much easier to be our flawed (but more relaxed) selves. Thanks for this wonderful reminder.

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    1. We really can't hide who we are, so we might as well get on with being authentic and people will like us (or not) and basically - who really cares??!:)

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  14. I've learned over the years and need to constantly be reminded that everyone is doing the best they can. If not, they would do better. The thing I still struggle with, Leanne, is cutting myself slack. I love what you said about some days doing your best is getting out of bed before lunch time. I always get up early even on weekends and still feel like a fall short most days. It is that dastardly perfectionism needling its way into my unconsciousness. Thanks for this post. It is liberating!

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    1. Thanks Molly - and you know what? The sleeping in thing is still a guilty pleasure that I still can't really let myself completely enjoy - mid morning is about my best effort! When it all boils down to it though - nobody really cares - even if we stayed in our pjs all day (although it'd give the shop assistants a smile!)

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  15. I love this! It's so hard to give up on trying to do this, but you cannot be all things to all people - it's too much.

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    1. And that's the nitty gritty of it all isn't it - we just can't please everyone, so we might as well cut ourselves some slack and just enjoy the people who enjoy us.

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  16. Amen- again! Why does it take getting to this age to realize all of this! The heartache I suffered because things weren't what I thought they should be! Or the disappointment when whatever was going on couldn't measure up to my expectations! Great post, Leanne! Thanks for sharing with #overthemoon!

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    1. I know Cathy! I am the same - all those years of doing my utmost to keep all the balls in the air. It's nice to choose which balls and how many I want to juggle these days. I wish I'd figured it out thirty years ago!

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  17. Amen. This is dare I use the dirty word---perfect. Yikes. I'm sorry but everything you've said here resonates. No more perfection! Life is better with imperfections X10.

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    1. My thoughts exactly Lisa - how I didn't figure this out sooner is beyond me!

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  18. I hear you, Leanne. Now I dare to be perfectly imperfect. :)

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    1. And you do it so well Corinne - maybe imperfection has a perfection all of its own :)

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  19. OMG! Why on earth haven't I found you before this! You have practically just written a biography of my life striving for perfection in every single area. I was always a people-pleaser, but as I've gotten older I don't feel the need to please everyone anymore. Great post and it is so lovely to connect with a like-minded blogger. :) www.50shadesofage.com

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    1. I thought the same thing when I found your blog Kathy - don't you love it when you find someone else whose journey mirrors your own? That's one of the biggest joys of midlife blogging - I'll be visiting you often x

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