I’m 59 and 11 months today. Next October 25, I want to know I’ve created my best pathway to sixty, and have blogged along the way to keep myself accountable.
First step along that path is to Train My Mind For Happiness, and step one in that endeavor is to be alert and mindful of toxic patterns of thought.
There are so many books on Happiness and Mindfulness, and courses aplenty as well. First up for me is UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Foundation Science of Happiness Class. There, they teach that each of us can create new roads through the superhighway of our brain — that we really can teach an old dog new tricks.
I need some. New pathways, that is. I have well-worn groves along the toxic thoughts highway, starting with that capital “P” Perfectionism. But believing that I can always be perfect … that when I fall short of perfect I am not enough, I am not worthy, I am a failure … shocking as it may seem, that belief does not lead to happiness. Not even close. And it keeps me from taking risks, it encourages me to hold on to (supposed) control, its makes me fearful of vulnerability. It keeps me constrained in a very small box.
While there are pitstops for moments of pleasure along the Perfection Superhighway — a refueling when I get that fleeting feeling of satisfaction for a job well done, the beauty of the perfect roundness of those zeros in a “100” atop the graded paper — the stop is always too short. Too soon, I’m back on the road, the short-lived joy of accomplishing something perfectly already forgotten while I search frantically for how to do the next thing just right.
While refueling stations are few and far between, however, there is an over-abundance of other things along that well-worn Highway of Perfect. Anxiety, Alienation, Knowing I Am Not Enough — those are the oxygen I breath along that drive. Well, f*ck that. I’m tossing out the well-worn roadmap of my life and taking Exit 59A. What’s that sign say? This Way to Average? Average???? Yikes!!! OK, I’m in! What the hell, it might be fun. I’m going to do my best to start believing that doing good enough is good enough. I’m exiting the well-worn highway of striving for perfection, and I’m going to start being happy for putting in the effort, taking the chances, going for it, even if I fall short. I’m heading to It’s OK to Just Be Me, which is much more accepted, I hear, in Averageville.
Come and meet me there!