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finding BALANCE: stop pursuing perfection

balanceStacey OswaldComment

Even if you think you're a pretty chill person, you've probably pursued perfection in some way at least once in your life. Whether it's with your body, your job, your relationship, or your social status, we all fall victim to it. It's just a part of human nature- no one just wants to accept a sub-par reality, so we strive for perfection to avoid being ordinary. Unfortunately, this simple desire to be better can often become an obsession or a way of life, which is when it starts becoming an issue.

I was reading Aziz Ansari's new book, Modern Romance, and in one section he mentions that he is a "maximizer." I completely related to this, as a maximizer is someone who obsessively looks up reviews for restaurants or products in order to make the best, most educated decision. Such people have trouble being spontaneous and they're often dissatisfied with their choices in the long run, as the "best"  never lives up to their expectations. Just the other day, I walked around Target for an hour doing online research on a curl cream for my hair, only to end up not buying anything because I couldn't find conclusive enough reviews. But I relate to this on a much deeper level, too.

When I moved to LA, I thought it would be my dream place. There's a ton of healthy food here, it's sunny year-round, and there's SO MUCH TO DO. I was so excited to leave Nashville that I honestly didn't even enjoy my last few months there. I just sprinted out the door, figuratively, leaving behind all that I knew for this beautiful future I had created in my head. Surprise surprise, LA ended up being nothing like I expected. It's a huge, dirty, overwhelming city, I often feel unsafe walking around by myself, and everything (including all of the healthy food I dreamed about) is incredibly expensive. Not to mention that it's almost impossible to find an entry-level job out here, especially when no one even knows where Vanderbilt (my undergrad) is located.

It's been hard coming to terms with the fact that my dreams were so off-base, but after some thought, I've discovered the underlying issue. I've always had this image of what my perfect life would look like, and it often has nothing to do with who I am as an individual. I moved to LA because I wanted to be that thin, health-obsessed city girl who always posts the perfect Instagrams and has huge circle of friends. I wanted to be Lauren Conrad or Karena and Katrina (from Tone It Up), because I always felt fat and lonely in college and I was sick of the winter. But I love eating both healthy food and unhealthy food, and I'm way too introverted to have a ton of friends. I didn't choose LA because it was perfect for ME- I chose it because it was perfect for who I so badly wanted to be. These are completely different things, and only now am I realizing how important it is to make decisions for yourself. 

My point is- we need to stop pursuing perfection for superficial reasons. We all want to be better, and that's fine. But you shouldn't want to be a different person! We are all so special and unique, and we need to embrace our imperfections so we can discover our true potential. Otherwise, you'll end up like me, moving across the country to pursue this image of perfection that doesn't align with my actual goals and values. Hopefully, I'll be able to fix my mistakes so I don't end up miserable, but I'm using this whole experience as a lesson that perfection is overrated. Also, on a slightly different note, stop trying to find the best apartment or restaurant or boyfriend or hair product. Such perfection doesn't exist, especially when you're only looking at surface-level factors. Think about how that boy or that apartment makes you feel the majority of the time, and if it's mostly positive, go with it and stop questioning yourself!!! And for God's sake, stop Yelping restaurants for hours and just pick something already! :) 

PS- Sorry I haven't been posting that much. As you can tell from this post, a lot has been up in the air, but I have some exciting things coming up that I can't wait to share!