It is only Wednesday morning and this week has already been eleven different shades of difficult for me and my little family. Small victories are what matter this week. Capturing and posting a daily photo for One True Sentence, writing emails and making phone calls that’d I’d rather put off, waiting until the children are in bed before breaking down into tears, momentarily soothing a heartbroken child, cheerfully playing a game of Uno with my youngest when I really want to be left alone, and not giving in to my impulse to stay beneath the covers and binge-watch Chuck on Netflix all day long are this week’s personal successes thus far. And you will never know how deeply I wanted to let Wednesday pass without a post because I couldn’t see very well past my own exhaustion. But in giving myself permission to refrain from writing something for P&O, I found my inspiration for this post.
It takes a great deal of effort for most of us to drag ourselves out of bed and do some good in the world when tens of other responsibilities, worries, and what-ifs are competing for our limited skills and energy. Even the most positive and enthusiastic among us are brought low, albeit momentarily, by the problems that come part and parcel with being an ordinary human. And the worst of it is that those of us who care the most about being the best humans we can possibly be are the last ones to give ourselves permission to be average or slightly worse than average on our rough days. But there is sweet relief to be found in embracing the fact that we are not exceptional. We will have terrible days. We will lose our temper and our keys. We will be absolutely bewildered by a problem presented to us and forget how to form coherent sentences. We will forget to wash our hair in the shower and will leave our headlights on. We will swear (at least mentally) at a person we would normally treat with compassion and respect. We will fail to be our best and we will feel riddled with guilt for that failure. And that is all okay.
Today, I’m giving myself much-needed permission to be imperfect. To not have all the answers. To just not care about so-and-so’s problem. I’m giving myself permission to do something good for me even if it is a bit indulgent. I’m giving myself permission to not answer non-vital calls, texts, and emails and avoid going anywhere where there are people unless absolutely necessary. I’m giving myself permission to feed my children take-out and convenience foods and bond over TV instead of mind-enriching activities. I’m giving myself permission to do whatever it takes to preserve my sanity as long as it does not harm another living creature. This post is my permission slip to be less than my best self for a few days, and if you need it, it can be your permission slip, too.