This week, a brand new washing machine arrives at our house. Many of you know that I’ve been washing all of our clothes by hand for the past year (with a few exceptions, when I’ve been sick or otherwise overwhelmed, and I went to the laundromat). Last fall, I sold our old noisy washing machine and dryer, and rejoiced at the space in our kitchen. Those of you coming here from my Rhythm of the Home article may be surprised, but I’m pretty darn excited to bring in a new, super efficient washing machine. I’m grateful for the experience, but I’m ready to move forward.
If my miscarriage last month made anything clear, it was that I needed to chill out. Probably a lot. I am a classic Type A Overachiever, a perfectionist, a “I don’t want to be perfect, I just want to be at least as good as everyone else, preferably better” type of person. Not consciously usually, but that is, if I am brutally honest, what lies beneath. And isn’t it that way for many of us? I look around myself and I see so many people trying so hard, striving so much, that we are neglecting our most basic needs. We live in an age of crazy luxury, and yet we don’t even feed ourselves properly. We feel too stressed and harassed to show kindness, to ourselves or strangers. The most odd thing about this is that we think it’s our strength.
I know I did. I could say, laughingly, Oh haha, I’m such a perfectionist. But I thought that was my advantage. I’ve been thinking about trying to slow down, trying to create peace and space in my life for quite some time now, but I didn’t really get it until this past month. I didn’t understand that what I thought was my secret weapon was also torturing me.
Partly, our success blinds us. Striving hard can bring good things into your life, but if you can’t slow down a bit and enjoy them, what good is it? Sometimes our striving can work in the exact opposite of what we’re trying for. I’m thinking of environmental activists who fly around the globe talking about climate change (flying creating a lot of CO2 emissions, of course). I’m thinking of farmers, or even ourselves when we first opened our cafe, who are working so insanely hard to make real food for people that they can’t make their own dinner and order take-out.
Sometimes, these things are a phase, a period of craziness in our lives that we need to accept and get through. But can we let go of the adrenaline once the need is gone?
Here, I’m trying to strive a little less. I’m ready to believe that I don’t have to be the world’s best ecological citizen to be a good citizen. Or the world’s best mother to be a good mother. On and on.
I bought a washing machine. I didn’t like my patchwork rug, so I ripped it out, and I didn’t feel bad about it, I felt free. Some days the floor is clean, some days it isn’t. I am trying to breathe a little deeper, to ask myself to remember what I’m really working towards – raising a healthy, loving family, serving my community in a positive way, being able to find time to roll out my yoga mat or pick up my knitting needles, and just enjoy.
And you? Are you ready to be simply good at something, instead of the best? Wishing you some peace this week, friends. Thank you for taking these moments here with me.