Dusky pink sunset skies. Salty air. Sound of the ocean. Birds flying high. Perfect!
Sunday afternoon plans with friends cancelled. Alone at the seafront, listening to a busker playing one of my favourite Arabic songs, Osad Einy by Amr Diab, I thanked the universe for this “perfect” moment. But what made it so perfect?
It was exactly what it was. Free of all expectation, hope and comparison. I could’ve said, ‘it would’ve been perfect if…’ or ‘I wish that…’. I could’ve tried to “perfectly create’ that “perfect moment”. But it would never match the wonderful imperfectly beautiful spontaneity.
And then I realised, it’s the same in life. How do we find ourselves so entangled in a web of expectation, hope, comparison and ultimately, disappointment? Plotting and scheming, trying to control the outcome. And missing so much along the way!
How often do we wish our lives away chasing an illusive “perfection”, saying ‘wouldn’t everything be perfect if…’
…we were thinner, more muscly, happier, richer, had a better job, got married, had a baby, had a big house, had a bigger house, had a nice car, had the latest FitBit, Kindle or whatever, carried a Louis Vuitton, escaped life on idyllic beach holidays, could follow our own dreams not other people’s, if the moment were perfect?
And society doesn’t help! We are ‘sold’ the dream every single day. Over exposed to a plethora of Hollywood versions of make believe “perfect lives” every where — magazines, tv, music, advertising, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, Facebook…
So much ‘noise’! But that’s just it. It’s just other people’s noise! And what an amazing feeling it is to press mute on all that shit! It isn’t easy. I of all people know!
“Being perfect” is something I have struggled with my whole life. Since before I can even remember. Just the other day my mum reminded me how I wouldn’t so much as even try to walk. Not until I knew I could do it, perfectly! When I stood up in my play pen one day and boldly walked from one side to the other, my mum realised that apparently I’d been practising when no-one was looking. Only ready to show the world when I could do it perfectly!
And that continued to be the way I led my life for many many years.
Instead of listening to my instinct and simply “living” the natural ebbs and flows of life, it has led me to control and force things. It has led me down many wrong paths. It has made me hold onto things that no longer served me. Learning the value of letting go of things the hard way — over and over again!
It has made me miss opportunities. It made me focus on my mistakes. My past. Focus too much on “why?” and what I couldn’t control. Focus on what’s next. Focus on what I should do. Often times it made me deprive myself of enjoying the beautiful life right in front of my eyes.
It made me place too much value on the wrong things. It made me focus on what I don’t have. What I haven’t achieved. Always comparing myself to others’. And also fearing how others see me.
It made me create self perpetuating feelings of not being good enough and, ironically, feelings of not deserving perfection! Always waiting for the perfect moment and wanting more.
Crazy! Trapped in a cage. A futile cycle of chasing that illusive “perfect moment” yet holding myself back for fear of failure. It made me live a large part of my life from a place of fear. Holding back my magic. Ignoring my true self for fear of “failing” myself.
But this year I have decided enough is enough! It’s not easy and I feel like I’ve been through a total rewiring. So many years of striving for “being perfect”. But wow wow wow! How amazing it feels to just be. To let go. And to let life happen imperfectly.
It has taken incredible inner strength, patience and cheerleading from my tribe and there’s still times I wobble. But at the ripe old age of 41, I am choosing to be the flamingo among the pigeons. To be different. To love my mysterious, wild, beautiful imperfect self.
There is no feeling on earth like the feeling of finding your wings. Taking the leap. Having faith that the universe will catch you. That feeling, it’s making my soul shine.
And it’s contagious. Catch it! Live it! Love it! And most of all promise me this, share it!