By: Mary Fran Bontempo
(No audio version of this post because, as you’ll read below, I’m kind of tired….Maybe next week.)
So…I know it’s the time of year when I’m supposed to promise to be a better person. To be kinder, gentler, less of a biatch—generally a much nicer version of myself. I’m supposed to promise to eat better, exercise more, do all sorts of inspirational, humanitarian stuff to make the world a better place. I’m supposed to promise to volunteer for multiple charitable causes on a regular basis. I’m supposed to put others first, take politically correct stands on a bunch of issues, save the whales, crusade for the environment, etc., etc. and etc.
And I’m going to promise all of that. I’m just probably not going to do it.
See, I’m kind of tired. I’ve been chasing a perfect version of myself for fifty-plus years now and, well, she doesn’t exist.
What does exist is me. An imperfect, occasionally unstable, borderline hysterical, neurotic, anxious woman who usually feels like a plate juggler on The Ed Sullivan Show who’s a spin or two away from having an entire, frantic life come crashing down around her.
But I’m pretty much okay with that. And yes, I realize the reference has just cemented my place in the annals of old-ladydom, but I’m okay with that, too.
The way I see it, I’ve raised three kids, two dogs and a husband, coming up on the 33rd year of a marital odyssey to rival Homer’s. (And I don’t mean Homer Simpson. Or maybe I do.) I took care of two grandmothers and I’m always there for my mom. I’ve dropped everything for family and friends in need. I help my husband run our business, I write for several publications including NRFGP and I’m always struggling to keep abreast of technology to stay afloat in a world I don’t fully understand. I’m a member of a few business and service organizations where I try to contribute something of value at least occasionally. I also do the cooking, cleaning and other mom stuff at home because, well, who else is going to do it?
In other words, I do all the stuff every woman with a family and a job does. Every day. Because again, who else is going to do it? Which leaves me little time for perfection, as this imperfect life takes up every minute of my time. The mere thought of adding anything else to the madness has me inhaling into a paper bag and gasping for air.
After realizing that I have little to no control over anything, I do my best to handle what lands on the road in front of me. I don’t always do it well, but I try. I’ll continue to try, even promising to be a better version of me though I doubt one exists. If she does, I’m pretty sure she’s in a parallel universe and not entering my world any time soon, though she’s welcome to take a shot at any of this if she thinks she can do a better job than I am.
Do you know that song, “I’m Every Woman?” Well, I am. We’re all doing the best we can. Granted, some days we do better than others, but that’s life. The important thing is, we show up on stage, each morning that we get out of bed to take on the day.
So this New Year’s, I think I’ll take a rest from the pursuit of perfection and just be me. And if I drop a few plates along the way, I’ll sweep up the mess and start spinning again when I’m ready.
Happy New Year to all!