everything looks perfect from far away

I work in an industry where I spend a majority of my time advising clients to “just write.” “Get those ideas down on paper.” “All that genius isn’t helping anyone by swirling around in circles inside your head!”

Ignoring the “genius” line, I should really be lecturing myself. As usual, my fear of doing something less than perfect has halted me from doing ANYTHING. I don’t specifically mean my writing pursuits. I’ve been riding the post-grad burnout excuse for six months now, and it’s time to stop letting perfection dictate my actions. I mean, all that worrying about flawlessly executing isn’t helping anyone by swirling around in circles inside my head!

So July’s my month. I’m going to make things happen! I’ve been reading “The Happiness Project,” a book that made its way around the blogosphere several years ago. The memoir follows the author as she embarks on a year filled with improving her life through a variety of simple yet effective changes. I appreciate her emphasis on personal happiness: the things that will make her happy won’t make me happy. We are all special flowers with our own special flowery interests. So, emulating her personal 12 commandments of happiness, I free wrote a set of my own beliefs. Here they are, in their sloppy, absolutely not perfect glory:

1. Be here.
2. Run your own race.
3. Treat others kindly.
4. Make the world better.
5. Look for the sunshine.
6. If you’ve heard it before, it’s a cliche.
7. Wander aimlessly and travel far.
8. Just f*cking do it.
9. Accept your shortcomings and learn to revel in mistakes.
10. Want less.
11. Appreciate the ordinary.
12. Always love harder.

These need work. 1 and 11 sound the same, but they’re not. 2, 3 and 4 are all cliches, making 6 seem inaccurate, but it’s not. The order is not important, but 12 is most important. These commandments are raw with minimal edits, and they highlight my most important values for being truly happy.

And not once does the word “perfection” appear.


* Title inspired by The Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights.”

9 thoughts on “everything looks perfect from far away

  1. I have 3…Breathe, Believe, and Battle. I like the number 3….10-12 seems a little much to focus on, and commandments makes me feel like someone else is in charge of my happiness.

    btw…nice to see you back in the swing of things 🙂

    1. Thank you! It’s been a concept that I’m finally realizing about myself, so it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I’ll check out your blog — sounds like we may have a lot in common!

  2. These are amazing, Cari. I really need to work on “just f*cking do it” because I’m such a procrastinator, which causes constant unnecessary stress in my life. It also applies to the fact that I have not scheduled a get-together with you, which I need to just f*cking do, because I miss your lovely face!!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! I feel like I keep thinking of rules to add: “If someone tells you who they are, believe them.” “The first step is always the hardest.” “You’re not going to live forever, so eat that pizza.”

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