Things I Learned After Turning 30: Perfectionism

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I’ve admitted many times on this site that I consider myself a perfectionist. The root of this is two-fold: one, it comes from being afraid of failure and two, I'm a people pleaser by nature, which means that I hate disappointing anyone. As an only child who was perpetually the center of attention, I felt like I had to be perfect because all eyes were on me. Not only was that not the case (my parents lead busy, fulfilled lives outside of just me), but I also set unrealistic expectations for myself that I could rarely live up to. I admit that I still strive for perfection and while it's not a realistic goal, I now look forward to the challenge of improving myself through both mistakes and successes.

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Motherhood. Becoming a mom is the most significant role I'll ever have and I so badly want everything to be perfect, that's it's made me realize how futile that pursuit is. I've received so many varied opinions and advice from what to eat, how to exercise, items to buy, classes to take; it's clear there is no blueprint for perfection. The one constant through all the advice which I do subscribe to, is to make your own path. Every woman has a unique pregnancy and what works for one doesn't necessarily work for all, so my goal is to evolve as a mother through experience, rather than solely on advice.

Work. I've always strived to create a space that provides inspiration for people who share my similar tastes. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes it falls flat. Readers definitely let you know either way and while I find a lot of pride in receiving compliments on the work, far too often negative feedback would erase my sense of accomplishment. Trying to create the perfect post for every reader is obviously impossible (I'll never be able to please everyone), so my focus remains on creating content that challenges and inspires me, while being open to constructive dialogues.

Friends. I used to have truly unrealistic standards for myself in my friendships. I'd rarely cancel plans or modify existing ones for fear that people would see me as flaky or decide I simply wasn't worth it. And when someone bailed on a dinner last minute or wasn't able to come to my birthday party, I'd take it personally (um, I was a beast). Now I'm much more confident in the relationships that I have and that one missed connection doesn't indicate anything deeper than just that - sometimes you just need a night to yourself.

Entertaining. My parents throw great dinner parties, so I've always put a lot of pressure on myself to be an impeccable host. I tend to get frazzled before our guests arrive - making sure that everything is on schedule, that the house looks pristine and that the wine and cheese are at the ideal temperature. But my friends aren't looking for some exquisite dining experience: they're excited to spend an evening bonding over good food and fun company. The very first time we entertained in our new place, we invited friends over for G's famous 5-hour short ribs, which we'd started early in the afternoon. But minutes before our guests arrived, we realized we hadn't turned on the oven properly. We panicked, but had a blast ordering pizza, opening up a nice bottle of wine and owning up to the mistake.