With the start of a new school year, I've been trying to wipe the slate clean and start new habits. I want to eat healthier, drink lots of water, wake up early, workout daily, make more money, have more fun, keep in touch with friends, nurture relationships with my family, and reach new heights in my career. And I want to do it all at the same time.
I want to live my best life and, honestly, it's exhausting.
Sometimes I wish I could just take a break and say I'm content with where I'm at. I'm doing perfectly fine. I workout sometimes. I feel pretty sure my diet isn't going to lead me to an early grave. My career as a writer is awesome and fulfilling. I stay at home with my kids and still manage to maintain plenty of work. My house isn't on the verge of being on Hoarders. We get to vacation every now and again. I have a great family, and a few close friends and I love dearly. I feel pretty balanced.
Shouldn't that be enough? Honestly, yeah, it really should be.Yet it's not an acceptable answer to say that I'm completely satisfied with my life.
You're supposed to be grateful, but also striving for more.
The pressure to do more, be more, to get to that next level is always there. Living your best life is the new version of the American dream, yet there's no way to achieve it fully. You never reach a point where there is no room to grow, to refine, to do just a little, tiny bit better.
I know, because for all the things I've accomplished, I always feel like I'm falling short. In the past year alone I've tackled many habit changes. I gave up almost all my TV time. I finally started brushing AND flossing my teeth twice a day. I have gotten on a way better sleep schedule, and I seriously don't waste that much time on my phone anymore. I drink the water. I don't get too drunk (I mean, most of the time). I eat more vegetables. I've stopped taking Buzzfeed quizzes when I'm supposed to be working.
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I should look at that list and be damn proud (and don't get me wrong, I am), but most of the time I look at what I have conquered and immediately think what next?
My list of "best life" requirements snowballs as soon as I tackle a single item. I find time to take my kids on family bike rides a couple of days a week, and it feels great, but soon it's not enough.
I'd also like to be the kind of parent who is involved in school, and goes to all my kids' activities, and plans the best parties. I could definitely be a better partner in my marriage. I should call my parents and grandparents more often. I want to go on more exciting vacations, which means I should make more money, but also, I need to make sure I maintain balance. I drink a lot of water, but do I drink enough hot lemon water?
It's an endless cycle.
I make a change; I adjust to my new habit, then I look for the next thing to conquer. I have an insatiable need for perfection that can never be met. It's not necessarily a bad thing to constantly be improving, but the problem comes when I burn myself out and never stop to enjoy the life I have now. I shouldn't feel daunted by the pressure to live my best life. I should feel heartened that I'm on my way, and encouraged by how far I've come. I should know that I’m enough, just as I am now, and truly believe it for once.