By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Moncton Times & Transcript
Whenever I’m feeling tired – usually just before a long weekend – I count down the minutes until everyone goes into vacation mode and I can relax. I’ll often crash on the sofa, go through the PVR to watch all those shows I missed or check out Netflix.
On long weekends, tuning out is obligatory. I take the time to relax and don’t feel one bit guilty about it.
But I’ve gotten into this habit of trying to do what everyone says you’re supposed to do – like being in a perpetual state of utopian relaxation at 5 p.m. every day after work. Then, it’s off to the gym to work out for an hour followed by eating a light supper of only organic vegetables farmed by monks, an hour of meditation to completely turn off my mind and then eight solid hours of deep sleep.
Well, that fantasy certainly doesn’t reflect my reality. Weekly, I seem to buy fresh vegetables with every good intention of tossing them into a beautiful, crunchy and delicious salad that will set off fireworks in my mouth and cure me from every illness that I have now and know it, have now and don’t know it, or may get in the future.
What usually happens is that the lettuce and cauliflower I take home gets stored in the refrigerator’s crisper drawers with plans to use them right away or the next day. In fact, there should be another name for those drawers: hide-them-from-Brian drawers. Nearly without failure, I discover the now-rotten and gelatinous lettuce and cauliflower when I’m cleaning out the refrigerator on garbage day.
I really need to stop storing stuff in those drawers. They’re right up there with the deep freezer in the basement. There’s stuff in there that’s so old that, well, I don’t even want to say it publicly. I can assure you, anything in there will not be eaten at this point. You know the meat you have in the freezer is old when the photo on the label is a brontosaurus.
Instead of feeling guilty, at some point a person just has to accept that they’re not living the world’s ideal of how things should be. Maybe I should stop reading so much. It seems like every second business article online is advice on how to be perfect at this or that. By all accounts, I pretty much fail at being perfect at anything – and I’m sure everyone reading this is the same way.
Should I stop feeling guilty about not taking a billion weeks off for vacation every year? Should I stop wanting to scream every time someone posts the inevitable cliché Facebook photo of their feet on a beach while they’re on vacation? By the way, feet are gross. Pass it on. Seeing your feet isn’t a good tourism ad for wherever you are. Put some socks on, however, and then maybe I’ll look at the brochure.
Eight hours of sleep every night? Seriously? If I get six it’s only because I’m either deathly ill or have been up for five days straight relaxing on a beach in the Caribbean taking photos of my feet to post on Facebook. This is what happens when you’re scared to miss something and are addicted to the 24-hour news and social media cycle. I’m not saying it’s healthy, but it’s the way things are. Maybe I need to parachute into some jungle somewhere and disconnect. You know, just me and the monkeys pointing at each other’s gross feet.
Some days, I want to stand up and yell, “Look, I may not be doing everything perfectly, but it is what it is and I’m fine with it.” It’s exhausting to continuously think that you’re doing things wrong because you aren’t ticking off all the boxes on the Perfect Life Checklist.
No, I didn’t have $10 million in my retirement savings account by the time I was 12. I guess I’ll be eating cat food for Christmas when I’m 65. No, I’m not sleeping 20 hours every night. I guess that means I’ll drop dead in a meeting from exhaustion at some point. And no, I’m not applying organic deodorant every morning that’s scented with the tears of butterflies from the rainforest. Just smelling my actual toxic deodorant likely gives me a little bit of brain damage every morning.
There’s nothing wrong with striving for an ideal just as long as that ideal is one that you truly want and can live with rather than one that some self-help guru thinks you should have. We’re not as dumb as we think we are sometimes.