I’ll be lecturing a class on Creative Blog Posts titles at Harvard later this month if you’re interested.
We’re all given a lot of advice throughout our lives, right? Some good, some not so much (see what I did there?). Anyway, I was just obsessing over insignificant things in the shower, as you do, and I realized that a lot of things I have been told in my life, that I have taken for granted as hard, cold truths, are not actually true at all. And so, since I possess that rare gift of oversharing, I’ve made a little (long, rambling, endless) list of them for your viewing pleasure.
- It is good to be a perfectionist.
I am NOT a perfectionist. At all. No one has ever accused me of being one (my nickname for years was Spacey Casey) and I am fairly certain no one ever will. Example: I was late every single day of my junior year of high school. Every. Day. Example 2: While changing my baby’s diaper yesterday, I wiped her with a damp bib because I had run out of 1. wet wipes as well as 2. paper towels as well 3. toilet paper. Now, most of my life I considered this a weakness. It was certainly a weakness while in school. But now that I am an adult, honestly, I’m starting to see it as a strength. There are a number of studies out that say perfectionism can lead to depression because, while it may be possible to fill out a scantron perfectly, it’s not possible to argue with your husband perfectly. Or teach your kids perfectly. Or pray perfectly. It’s just not. Not being a perfectionist has allowed me to be an optimist. Yes, I might screw up here and there, my kids might be crazy, feral beasts off and on throughout the day, and my husband might be gone working and doing homework more often than I would like him to be, but, at the end of the day, we all love and forgive each other and that is enough. That is more than enough!
(excuse me while I earn my nickname)
2. I would get used to waking up early.
Nope. Never. Never. Ever. Mornings = death. (I think the above picture was taken before 9 am)
3. I would miss working once I became a stay at home mom.
I remember being told this when I was pregnant with my first daughter, by virtually every woman I knew, and thinking inwardly, “For real?!” Now, just to clarify as my former boss aka Dad will be reading this: I had a great job. My heart just wasn’t there. I think this is true for many girls though it’s unpopular to say so. I have met so many young girls who aren’t sure what they want to do with their lives. They say maybe they’d like to go into creative arts or open a bakery or just travel a bit. I wonder if maybe, like me, their true heart’s desire is to be a wife and mother. I used to feel ashamed about how little ambition I had in school and work. I thought maybe I was inherently lazy or stupid. I can tell you now, after having/chasing/cooking for/cleaning up after four small children (and still hoping and praying for more!), I am neither lazy nor stupid (proof: I used nor in a sentence). I’m actually pleased (and a bit surprised) to say I can be quite the hard worker. I just needed a vocation. I needed a purpose. Working couldn’t give me that, but motherhood and wifehood (is that a word??) has.
(sweet dreams, you beautiful excuse not to work)
4. Even if I did get used to the SAHM gig, I’d be dying for playdates so I could have “grown up” conversations.
Ahh, playdates. Save me. Please. Playdates = death. Contrary to what I had been told, children are fascinating as well as hilarious company and are, gasp, also capable of conversation.
5. If I didn’t succeed in high school, I’d never make it in college.
Blatant lie. I barely graduated high school. In fact, there was some controversy over whether or not I should be allowed to walk on stage during the graduation ceremony. I did great in college. I actually earned straight A’s one semester, and close to straight A’s all the other ones. Yes, I did end up leaving college before I graduated but that was not because I couldn’t handle the workload. I went full-time every semester while also working and even joined the debate team.
6. I would regret dropping out of college.
While I am not against college in the slightest, I am against the idea of “finding yourself” in college. College is a horrible place to find yourself. If you are lost, you will be more lost on a college campus. I was very very lost in college and, upon reflection, probably depressed. I had no clue as to what I wanted to do for a career. Though I did enjoy my classes and received grades my high school self never dreamed of, I was floundering in my personal life. I decided to take some time off to travel with my sister and get my head straight. Within two years, I had a passionate faith, a beautiful husband, and a pregnant belly. I have never, ever, for a moment, regretted dropping out of college. Actually, it’s one of the best decisions I ever made.
7. Getting married young is a mistake.
I was 21 when I got married. My husband was 19 (yes.i.am.a.cradle.robber. Seriously, what would happen if this joke was not made every single time it’s mentioned I’m older than my husband? Would the Universe implode?) We’ve been married nine years now. In a lot of ways, we ‘ve grown up together. We’ve made foolish, youthful mistakes together. We’ve been poor together. We’ve quit careers and started careers together. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Going through all the ups and downs of life has truly made us partners. It’s made us One. There’s a scene in “Letters to Juliet” where the grandmother, who is searching for her long lost love, pulls up to the giant mansion where she thinks he’s living and her grandson turns to her and says, “Well, looks like you got to skip the messy bits.” To which she quietly replies, “Life is the messy bits.” Word.
8. My kids wouldn’t connect to the Faith in an Orthodox church.
Okay, no one actually said this to me, it was more something I said to myself. In our seeker friendly culture, I was afraid my kids wouldn’t be able to find meaning in a 2-hour service full of chanting, incense, and standing. Didn’t they need Veggie Tales and a rocking worship band to engage? Wouldn’t they dread the services, as there are so many of them? Wouldn’t they find the priests and the icons and the hymns strange? No, no, and no. It has been one of the greatest joys of my life to see my children grow in Orthodoxy. They get it. They just Get. It.
Btw, kids LOVE icons. And prostrations. Who knew?
Okay, there you have it. I could have written more but I assume you have better things to do with your time to read my endless rants, right? I’ll just end with this: there is a certain mold people are expected to fit into; in school, work, adulthood. When you don’t fit that mold, it can be scary. I don’t fit that mold. I never did. And, for many years, that truth really did scare me. I remember crying myself to sleep one night, calling out to God, begging Him to give me a future, pleading with Him to set me on a path, because I couldn’t imagine how I would walk the one the world had laid out for me.
And He did. He gave me an awesome life. He gave me purpose. He gave me a future. It’s okay that I didn’t fit the mold. I think one of the reasons I am so grateful for my present life is because I always assumed my life would suck. How could it not? If you’re a terrible student and unmotivated worker, your life will inevitably be a giant failure,right? As it turns out, No. That’s not right. There is more than one version of a Great Life.
9. This is only one version of a Great Life.
Until next time.