I have a pet peeve. It really gets under my skin to be around a person who pretends everything is perfect in their life. Don’t misunderstand, I like being around an optimistic person way more than I like being with a pessimistic person. It’s the faker that frustrates me. You know the type. They act like everything they are associated with is perfect. It seems to be the MO for many. You’ve seen the posts…..perfect couple, perfect vacation, perfect children, perfect job, perfect, perfect, perfect. I believe trying to present everything you do as perfect turns people off because they know it isn’t true.
My wife Jane and I traveled recently to CA to watch four of our eight grandchildren while their parents were away on a business trip. They are ages seven, five, three, and two. If in this blog I wrote,
“Keeping those precious children was so easy. They were always such a joy. We never had one problem with them. They were perfect little angels who only respected us. They love each other, and they always obeyed everything we asked them to do.”
WHAT WOULD YOU THINK? You’d throw up, wouldn’t you? I know you’d want to. 🙂
But what if I wrote the truth.
“We love our grandkids but keeping them for a week was hard. There were moments when we lost our cool with them. They exasperated us. At times it seemed they schemed against us. They are sneaky. If they are awake they are pulling on our shirts tattling on one of their siblings. “Mimi he hit me.” “ Big, he took my toy away from me”. “Big and Mimi, she pinched me.”
We took all four of them for ice cream one night to a place where you fix your own and then they weigh it to determine the price. I asked my oldest grandson, Cooper, how many toppings do your mom and dad allow you add to your ice cream. Without blinking an eye he said, “Seven.” We thought that sounded excessive but we trusted him. When his ice cream was weighed it cost us over 10 dollars. I almost had a heart attack. We quickly told the other kids they’d have to settle for two toppings, not seven.
Jane decided she would make Rice Krispy Treats for the kids……Presley, my beautiful five year old granddaughter told us, “I don’t eat Rice Krispy Treats.” I remember thinking, “Are you kidding me? Every kid I have ever known loves Rice Krispy Treats.” I wanted to say, “Presley, Mimi came all the way to Southern California to make these Rice Krispy Treats and you are going to eat them and you are going to LIKE IT!”
Here’s what I know for sure. You liked the second story that was true way more than the perfect story that was not true. You know why? Because you can relate. You recognized that we are not that different, you and me. We love our families with all our hearts but the day to day is not always easy or smooth. Family life can at times be a little messy. And that is ok.
Deep in me is the desire to live a big life. I choose to see the best in every situation. I genuinely look for the goodness and beauty in each day. But here is where life became better for me. I now can laugh at how far from perfect things really can be. I use to think perfection was what I longed for. That is not true. I am pursuing life – real life in all of its complexities.
That week with the grandkids was hard but it was worth it. And I don’t have to pretend it resembled a Norman Rockwell painting. It wasn’t perfect but it was real. And it was good.
Just a quick reminder for you today to be real. Don’t be a fake or a phony. Nobody believes your life is perfect so you don’t have to exert any effort pretending that it is. Own your stuff. Laugh at the craziness of it all. Authentic living is the best kind of living. Big authentic living beats pretend perfection any day of the week.