It’s been an interesting few weeks at casa marcelli. It started when, as you saw here, I got my finger tangled in an immersion blender. Then, after a week and a half, I got the stitches out and started to feel a little bit better. I was able to start moving my finger and was happy that I was finally on the mend. The next day I started to get a sore throat. I hoped it was just because I wasn’t used to the heat being on. But then, Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I woke up with a horribly sore throat and absolutely no voice. It was all I could do to whisper-croak the words “I can’t talk today,” when I got to work. A trip to urgent care and more antibiotics and steroids to take, and they said I would start to feel better within a week. Perfect timing, no?
Being sick threw all my perfect plans into disarray. I had to go to bed early, wasn’t able to make all the food I had intended, was exhausted most of the time, and, to top it off, wasn’t able to talk to people for a couple days!
I was incredibly frustrated about the whole thing. This was my first year to host Thanksgiving. It was supposed to be perfect. It was supposed to be relaxing for everyone (else). With stunning homemade from-scratch food. With a beautifully set table. And I would move around with the ease of someone who had planned everything out weeks in advance and everyone would marvel at how not-stressed I was.
Thanksgiving morning, I slept in while my sweet mother-in-law stuffed and cooked the turkey and Rob made breakfast for everyone. I hated it.
I know that Thanksgiving isn’t about the food or the decorations or making everything perfect. I know that it really is about family, and friends and being grateful and appreciative. But, I still felt bad. And not because anyone made me feel bad! Everyone was incredibly helpful all weekend – from washing produce to chopping vegetables to doing 87 loads of dishes – and they all told me to relax and rest. But, I felt bad. I still felt like I should be able to do more. I felt like I should have been able to do it all.
But I couldn’t. I had to rest. I had to rely on other people. And I had to let go of perfection.
I hated it. But I needed it.
Sometimes I think we can get so caught up in everything being perfect that we fail to embrace what is real. I don’t know about you, but I want everything I do to work out as well in real life as I think it will in my mind. But life isn’t like that. Sometimes you just have to take a nap.
Being sick over Thanksgiving reminded me of how much I need to let go of that perfectionism. How I need to let other people help. How I need to give myself a break and acknowledge my limitations. How I need to relax and enjoy the holidays instead of trying to make them perfect.
We went to get a Christmas tree yesterday. And we were too tired to decorate. So we have a naked tree sitting in our living room. But, I’m not going to fret about it. Because we needed a break. Because it was a worthwhile choice to eat leftover pie and watch a marathon of Once Upon a Time instead. Because it’s Christmas. And I am going to learn to relax.
What about you? How are you going to relax and really enjoy the holidays this year? Do you need to let go of unrealistic expectations for yourself? For others?