the balance of imperfection

As much as I love the blog world, I know it can skew our perceptions. Most bloggers write about their passions and talents. As readers, it's tempting to take all the successful and inspiring attributes of each and combine them into one unattainable ideal. It's the equivalent of an airbrushed model in a magazine: no one is that perfect. (Marta wrote about this in her blogging and jealousy post.)

Knowing this, I still fell victim to "blog envy." I kept incorporating more great ideas into my life, and was successful at first. Then I got a job. My time commitments drastically changed, but my expectations for what I should accomplish did not.

A couple weeks ago I had an emotional breakdown. All my expectations piled up. I got caught up in trying to do everything instead of pursuing my passions. I was uninspired and stretched too thin.

After a couple bear hugs, Ian sat down with me and we reevaluated what can slide and what can't: spending time together, serving at Reunion, investing in relationships, taking care of the environment, being responsible with our finances, and paying off debt.

In tandem with this reorientation is a new emphasis on God's command to rest — we weren't made to always be doing. Thanks to discussions in our community group, we're committing one day each weekend as work-free.

We rested that Saturday. After lunch with our co-community group leaders we headed downtown, found an eclectic button store so we could replace Ian's broken coat button, and wandered around Boston Common and the Public Garden. It was beautiful weather, and I felt so free.

boston public garden

As I rebalance my life, I also want to shatter any perceptions that I'm someone who has it all together.

I don't have the time, desire, or energy to coupon like a maniac. For us, it's worth passing up some deals in order to spend time on other things we care about more. We have a budget, so I've stopped feeling guilty for not getting $100 of groceries for 10 bucks.

I will continue my efforts at meal planning because it's the only way to get dinner on the table before 9 p.m. on work days. But I'm not perfect and we still sometimes end up eating ramen noodles or scrambling to Trader Joe's and making BLTs after most kid's bedtimes.

I accidentally fermented tomato juice in the fridge.

The pile of grit I swept off our floor last weekend looked like a gigantic ant hill.

I still have goals and want to grow as a wife, homemaker, and writer, but I'm learning to balance new pursuits with contentment, and to laugh at the tomato wine in the fridge.