I just read this post about “boho perfectionism”, and seriously, you need to read it. (Now!)
It reminded me of the OMHG twitter chat last week where someone asked me (and Jessika) something along the lines of
“How do you have time to be so awesome?”
I answered with the truth:
“Because I spend most of my time being NOT awesome. I sleep in, read too much, watch 8 hours of the West Wing in a weekend. When I do work, I try very hard to do my BEST work. Not to look awesome, or do what I think you want me to do, but to do the things that only I can do, the very best I can.”
So let's clear the air here, ok? Let me be entirely honest about how this pink-haired, plant-powered empire (ha!) exists.
In order to have and do what I want, I have decided to not have and not do a whole whack of things that “normal” people do.
I only cook dinner once or twice a week (Jay is an amazing cook, so even though I love it, I've turned the kitchen over to him). We rarely eat out (only once this month!) unless we're visiting family. I don't have a “home office”, so if I'm working at home it's at the kitchen table (which is in the only room – the “living room”) or on the couch. My usual “office” is whatever empty chair I can grab at Starbucks (the only coffeeshop in my town) or the library (next to the snoring-loudly homeless guy).
In other words, I'm not living your fantasy of the awesome business owner. I'm also not living “boho perfection” in any other aspect of my life, no matter what those vegan dinners look like on Instagram.
Sure, I do “healthy” stuff – I'm vegan, I'm training for a 5k, I strength train (love this app) and meditate/pray – but you know what? It's not for my health. And it's not because I'm particularly “good”. My veganism (which can be extremely unhealthy – did you know Oreos are vegan? YUM.) is compelled by compassion for animals and my complete disgust with factory farming. My exercise routine is entirely necessitated by my years-long mission to conceive children, without drugs or surgery. (Kate said this so well.) I meditate and pray because, well, I believe that's the best way to listen in to the Creator, to guide my life towards more love + compassion (and less stress + trying-to-control-it-all).
But none of this is a sacrifice. None of this is “good” or “disciplined” or anything. I live this way because I (am trying to) let my values inform my actions. My values are compassion, freedom, and exploration. But yours are going to be different, so your Ideal Life will look different. You have to find YOUR deep-rooted desires and then make decisions for your life based on that.
At the same time, none of this is sad or whiny. I wouldn't change anything – I want to live this way. But sometimes, when I see your beautiful living room, or adorable children, or organized studio, I forget a little.
I'm sharing all this because I want you to know – you can have a super-happy life, one filled with the things that matter to you.
But it might not look awesome from the outside. My mother-in-law is sad we don't live in a nicer place. My mom thinks I work way too hard. My high school friends all own their house, and we're years away from that.
But I alone am responsible for defining what I want, and then creating it. And (most days) I am deliriously happy. I am delighted with my life and the person I'm spending it with (and my dog!) and my business. Because it's mine. Because I get to have pink hair and wear pink shoes and snuggle.
I want you to be happy, to have what you want. And I want you to know that it won't come from lusting after someone else's business or life you see on blogs, twitter or instagram. The first step is to define what you want. And then make sure you're not being distracted by what you see in the comparison-chamber of the internet. And then look around: I bet you already have at least some of it. Your hair is great, your handknit shawl is beautiful, your business is beaming.
Let's agree together to change the nature of how we interact with the jealousy-inducing images. Next time someone (or their life or their business) is looking particularly “awesome”, look back around at your own life, not with comparison, but with gratitude. What are your values? What's your personal style? How's it reflected in your life, right now?