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Learning to Chill

Emily Dean

Enjoy. Celebrate now. You have permission to delight in daily miracles and stop comparing yourself to the better version of you.

This past weekend me and some of the ladies from our team got to get away for a little r&r.

 It was lovely, filled with cheese platters, good coffee, sleeping in 'til 9:30am, and delicious dinners. Though we didn't have our whole team with us and nothing particularly "exciting" happened I found it to be more than I'd hoped for.

I'm trying to think of how to explain it. You know when you're looking forward to something and build it up in your mind? I do. I do it all the time. I'm an idealist and I have some comically concrete ideas of how I want things to go. Even relaxing can become stressful to me when I start thinking I'm not "relaxing fully," or "getting the most out it."

It's silly and this weekend was no different.

I'd been looking forward to the break for literally three years. Since the beginning of this company I've thought of how wonderful it would be to go away and just think about it. A little ambitious, I guess.

This weekend we did that. We packed our bags, made our plans, and checked in to a lovely little Airbnb.

The gist of the weekend showed me that I'm not great at relaxing. I have an almost unending list in my head of what I want to accomplish and it's comically specific and ambitious. It took me about 48 hours to chill. I kept trying to fall into a rhythm of just going with my whimsy, but I couldn't find it. It was like it went missing and I was playing hide and seek with my own desires.

It really got me thinking. I live a lovely, full life. In fact, it's full of all the things I dreamed of as a teen, and more. I have a loving family, cozy home, thriving company, and work that fills me with joy. And yet, I fall short. I make my plans, I make the bed, I take all the necessary precautions, and something still goes wrong. I'm finding this to be a little more like real life and a little less like the exception. Aka, perhaps life is a tad messy for everyone and not just me. That alone is a comfort. 

So, I've decided on something for myself that I thought might be helpful to you, too:

If it's not important enough, don't do it. It's just life. You are LIVING right now and this is what you'll remember next year and in years to come. You aren't going to "make it," or "get it together" because we live by ever-evolving standards.

I will continue making an effort in things I'm ill-equipped for and simply doing my best. I'm not sure how this has taken me so long to land on, but I'm pretty excited about it.

We can try harder and work harder and those aren't bad things, but at the expense of your end goal they are detrimental. What I mean to say is, if your goal is to make enough money to be able to relax and enjoy your children, or to work out enough so that you can finally enjoy your body, you've missed the mark.

Enjoy. Celebrate now. You have permission to delight in daily miracles and stop comparing yourself to the better version of you. You have permission to live boldly in all the things that set you apart. You have freedom to pursue beauty and success as individually defined by you, not by Pinterest, or a business,  or a friend, or a really lovely calendar. 

All those things are tools for you. They were made to fit to you and not the other way around.

I'm just thinking this all through and feeling quite a bit of peace about it. If this is just living, if I'm just in the midst of what I'll look back on a few years from now as "my life," then what do I want to remember? What do I want my days to be filled with?

There's so much in this life we don't get to choose. "Life happens" is a phrase developed not by perfectly enacted plans, but by the crazy things we never saw coming. 

So, if "life happens" then what?

I'll choose the things I can and be calm with the rest. I can choose flowers in vases and long conversations over dinner. I can choose to read to my kids and answer emails later. I can choose to get up early and have some time alone. It's just life. I think sometimes I take it a little too seriously.

What do you think? Does this resonate with you?


Words by Emily Dean| Photography by LaRue Photo