perfection is so over.
I turned 43 over the weekend. A Cancerian with a Scorpio moon, I spent it alternately soaking in desert hot springs and lounging in a robe. The older I get, the less birthdays are about presents or parties—though I’m obsessed with the fanny pack (what?) I received from my mamas and unexpected phone call from my BFF who is on the frontline of COVID. Birthdays have become a rebirth I look forward to every year. The dependability of this fresh start is a rare gift these days. The weeks leading up to mine often feel like the final push, ready or not to face the hard truths of the past year and commit to living the the one ahead better.
The thirtysomething me would be mortified. The current me is proud for surviving.
42 was not a banner year for me. I felt lonely and lost at times, living in a new city yet again with a new business that, while beautiful, hasn’t gone as planned. I often treated my body like a punching bag, eating and drinking emotionally. My fitness and meditation routines could both be described as “walking the dog.” I forgot my spiritual practices on a regular basis, only to pick them back up when I desperately needed help from the Universe. I lost confidence, I lost income and I lost faith—a hollowing out of my very identity that I’ve only recently begun to refill.
The thirtysomething me would be mortified by all of this. The current me is proud for surviving. Grateful for the support that surrounds me. On my knees for those who continue to believe in me, and what we are building.
I don’t want to be better anymore. I want to love myself, without measure or reason.
I’ve been listening to the new HAIM album along with the rest of the world, as well as my spirit sprite’s Jonathan Van Ness’s autobiography. Both have reinforced that the struggle for perfection is so over. We are too tired, too sick, too lost as a country to waste another minute in a shame spiral about who we are or what we haven’t achieved. There will always be darkness and light. I’m learning to live with both to liberate myself from unnecessary, and frankly useless, pain. I don’t have the luxury or the time.
My husband came out of a meditation on my birthday with a message from spirt: We are perfect just the way we are. This isn’t a new sentiment. It gets tossed around on little plaques and Pinterest quotes. But the meaning is finally sinking in for me. I don’t want to be better anymore. I want to love myself, without measure or reason. After 43 years, it’s time.
Elizabeth Kendig is the founder of Healers. She’s currently working on befriending her inner critic and getting more sleep.