I have a confession: I am a recovering perfectionist.
Here's a perfect demonstration of my need for perfect control when I lived in Miami the greatest part of my teenage years. I believed I was the only one with curly hair in this land of 100% humidity. I would tape my hair into submission, I would iron my curls and then, after using an entire can of AquaNet hair spray, I'd walk out the door, and literally feel my curls start to move all over my scalp within minutes. Self-loathing set it in, defeated again.
Perfectionism is nothing to brag about...and it is most definitely not good for your health. Sleepless nights, anxiety pumped stress, living in the dead past or the imagined future can literally take years off your life, as well as make present moments painful and lonely.
According to the research of Thomas Curran (University of Bath) and Andrew Hill (University York St. John), "Perfectionism doesn't make you better at anything. Whether it's about your work or parenting or your weight or keeping a spotless home, perfectionism is harming your performance."
So what is a Perfectionist to do to get a grip and enjoy life to the max?
Perfectionism is good at making you feel small and unhappy and unhealthy. Yes, perfectionism could even kill you!
Struggling with perfectionism? Want more fun and freedom in your life? Want to soften your edge? Let's talk! Let's tame this beast to give you your life back!!! Email me here: Susan@SusanLBrooks.com.
Featured Modern Elder*
Delia deVer Mudge
Delia has crossed over. She has the unique perspective of living, and thriving beyond her first 50 years.
It was her quote on her 61st birthday on FB that got my attention: "...the joys of getting older at this year's crossing brings simplicity while enjoying more freedom...and a strong dash of eccentricity."
For all you fearfully approaching that 50 year mid-life crisis, as it's often called, Delia as this month's Modern Elder is just for you! She is a great role model to best demonstrate that right now can be your greatest mid-life opportunity.
Here's Delia, a Modern Elder* at 61 years of age:
"I have veins of optimism. I'm easy going, down to earth. I don't worry so much...or I'm getting more skillful at letting things go and not creating needless stories and heartache for myself or others. I think there's a juncture point at this stage of life and I choose the path of "letting go" of problems from the past , present issues and future fears! I'm as daring as ever, in my own ways, and enjoy my inner boldness that's quiet and sometimes sounds and looks a bit eccentric I'm sure and that's ok.
I've always been a creative dresser, I thought for a few minutes, that I might tone it down, but it still seems to come together as artsy! I see it as being fun and carefree, especially with thrift store finds and new challenges of being a more environmentally conscious dresser! As my body changes I try to have a sense of humor about it and not spend too much time and money fighting the reality of that. I've taken pretty good care of myself and am learning new strategies based on the challenges and conditions that do come up. I'm on a Plant based diet primarily and that's working well for me and the planet, which is the main reason I do that, but I'm certainly finding that it supports healthy aging in my case. I get daily exercise hiking, jogging, some yoga and riding my e-bike. I like to keep my exercise fun or related to transportation where I can get an errand done too.
Aging, if you are lucky, is inevitable...why not embrace it? Staying curious, appreciative, open and keeping a sense of humor are all key to each day's journey. We can get overly concerned with our aging experience and appearance: that's so limiting and not that interesting to think about or talk about in excess! It can make us miss so many opportunities of delight and beauty that is always found in our surroundings.
Since childhood, the places I'm most interested in are still nature based. I make that a big priority to get out and be in nature. I like to go to cultural events too, but prefer more low key places, so that has changed with age for me. I'm learning how to dial in what suits me well and that is turning out to be magical for adventure at home or beyond! Whatever one's interests are, it's important to get out and experience life and connect with other like minded people from time to time!
As an Artist, I've pursued Art as a lifelong vocation and also share my abilities, knowledge, and experience with others as a Teaching Artist. My art nurtures, inspires, celebrates, explores and honors this incredible journey we are all a part of on this earth. I'm currently focused on work that honors Nature through large minimalist abstract oil paintings, as well as art activist work around environmental and social issues.
I have nurtured a lifelong practice as a Buddhist, that has ripened and deepened with age, which is simply what happens! This is probably my number one essential ingredient for me to aging with grace and having a steady, if not golden, base for my "golden years". I've formally trained with secular forms of Buddhist teachings and approaches that has offered the kind of freedom to it that feels natural to me as a modern person who embraces social progress at the same time. I bring this hybrid of modern western and ancient eastern approach to life to how I live, the art I create and how I teach art too. As a formally trained and authorized dharma art teacher (similar to a certified yoga teacher, but with basic art materials) I assist in bringing wellbeing and transformation to others! I love working with adults 1:1 or in workshops in ways that facilitate their development in what's commonly referred to these days as "mindfulness", but I would include awareness, sense perception, emotional intelligence, joy, peace and the secular sublime! It's never too late to touch in to that and bring clarity, calm and inspiration to one's life as we age! Doing that through creativity is so special.
On the other side of 50, I know that this is my chance to create a new kind of rich life and to do what I can do to make things a bit better in some way for others or anyone of the challenging issues of our times. I will continue to sharpen my vision to see how incredible life is, to grow in my understanding and openness to what is and to continue to base my life on things that bring creativity, wisdom, love, playfulness and bravery to whatever comes next.
*Chip Conley, best-selling author and speaker, hospitality entrepreneur and leading thought leader, created The Modern Elder Academy's mission "to inspire the ability to reframe a lifetime of experience and recognize one's mastery, relevance, and value in the modern workplace." The Modern Elder* is Conley's term and effort that "liberates and inspires us to embrace wisdom as a path of growing whole, not old...The Modern Elder*marries wisdom and curiosity."
Every month this newsletter will Feature the stories and wisdom of Modern Elders*. Please send in your Modern Elder* nomination. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT