The biggest surprise I’ve had in becoming an adult is that I’m not very good at this.
I guess when I was younger, I expected that I would grow up and be a stable, happy, functioning adult. And while I knew I wouldn’t be perfect, I guess I figured that I would at least be competent.
Instead, sometimes I am a complete wreck.
And I want to be better. Of course I do. We all do. But sometimes it’s really hard. Life is harder than expected.
Part of this is being a parent–there is nothing quite so humbling as being a parent. Being a parent requires you to basically be good at everything at the same time. It’s an extreme sport in patience, faith, teaching, loving, and more. Every parents makes a whole lot of mistakes because sometimes there are no easy answers.
But I have to start separating myself from my extreme expectations of being able to do everything and do it well. Life isn’t like that.
There are messy days in life.
Days when I cry over spilled milk. Or I just don’t feel like talking with anyone. Or I say no to good things. Or we eat cereal for dinner. Or I binge watch random videos I don’t even like.
I want to get rid of the messy days and I want to get rid of them for forever. But I’m not perfect. Life isn’t perfect either.
But I don’t need to be ashamed that I’m not always on top of things and I make mistakes, sometimes large mistakes. Because the perfect person I’ve envisioned is just in my head, an ideal that I made up and that isn’t part of how the world really is.
I don’t need to expect perfection in myself or perfection in others. But what I can expect is that I keep trying and I keep moving forward.
I may never overcome some of my weaknesses. But I can keep trying my best to do the best I can, and be happy in my efforts. My efforts mean something, even if the results are less than impressive. I can keep trying.
I am worth something. I am worthwhile. I am doing better than I think I am.
It’s funny–I write these essays and I’m not always very good at what I’m writing about. In fact, sometimes I’m really bad at it, which is why I’m writing the essay. And sometimes I keep learning the same thing over and over and over again.
Because knowing something in my head for a minute is a lot different than learning how to live it. And so I will keep learning the same thing over and over again, and maybe I’ll get just a little bit better at it every time I keep trying.