Life isn’t going to be clean. It’s not going to be pristine sparkling countertops and no dust on your floors and the perfect ratio of protein to carbs to fat in every meal.
It’s not going to be celery sticks in plastic baggies in your fridge or perfectly calorie-counted bags of mixed nuts.
And you won’t eat just the right amount every night. Sometimes you’ll eat too much.
That doesn’t mean that sometimes you won’t clean off your countertops.
Sometimes you will.
And sometimes you’ll dust your floors and eat a well-balanced meal and cut up celery sticks for the fridge.
But sometimes you’ll be running out of the house and smear some peanut butter on your bread and eat a yogurt in the car and forget the wrapper.
Sometimes you’ll eat four cookies at the office and call that lunch. Because it’s delicious or because you were busy.
Sometimes you’ll have the perfect outfit picked out and it won’t have any wrinkles from being hastily folded and it won’t have any microscopic stains from a stray drop of soy sauce that you just can’t seem to get out.
Sometimes you won’t.
I often want my life to be clean.
I want my life to be good hair days and always liking my friends and feeling like I’m making linear progress through the journey that I will later recount at a successful Women-In-Business event while wearing high heels and a J Crew pencil skirt.
More often, my life feels like sitting on my couch staying up too late and wearing old knee socks that could probably use a wash.
But you probably knew this in your own life. You probably already know that life isn't going to be dry clean-only clothes.
I did, too.
I mean, yeah, I "knew" it.
But you know what I realized lately?
I kept holding onto the vision that life could be 3 mile walks every day and yoga three times a week. Life could be the pulled together outfit, the non-frizzy hair.
I kept waiting for the non-messiness to kick in.
“If I just listen to my feelings and my hungers for long enough,” I thought to myself, “I’ll become normal. I’ll stop being so weird and messy and falling into periods of grossness, disaster, messiness around food and non-food.”
“I mean, not today. But once I actually get my act together, my life could look like those arty pictures on Tumblr or Pinterest or Instagram.”
But you know what happened? I don’t seem to be doing that.
I don’t seem to be doing that at all.
But something else is happening. Something I didn’t anticipate at all: I don’t seem to mind being messy as much anymore. I don’t seem to mind over-eating or over-feeling.
When those periods happen – the periods of unclean countertops and messy emotions and overeating and junk food– it doesn’t seem to bother me as much anymore. I drop into it, and I flow out of it.
I drop into the bed head that I pull into a ponytail before I head off to work.
I drop into the sheets that I should have washed last week.
I drop into the canned soup and apple pie for dinner because I haven’t gone to the supermarket in a week.
And so maybe I flow out of those moments faster, I suppose. Because they don’t scare me anymore. Overeating, feeling like I’ve eaten too much sugar, ah well, it happens.
Except, of course, when I think I should go on a diet. That happens too, but it passes pretty quickly now.
And once I flow out of it?
Well, then I clean my counters.
And so that’s my offering for this week: when you stop chasing that impossible version of yourself, you start becoming what you need.
Little by little.