Okay, here’s kind of a secret. Well, not a secret really, just something that I do without really examining it too closely. Kind of like night-time snacking. Sure, I know I do it and it’s probably not the best thing for me, but I just sort of divert my attention while it’s happening, like -WAIT- look over there! and before you know it, half a bag of Sun Chips have magically disappeared. Hey. Don’t look at me. I have no idea what happened to them.

It’s pretty clear that this has been a stressful year for us, with my hubby’s job search and my business kind of, almost, sorta, but not fully, taking off. That sort of thing just leads to self-reflection, analysis and a general mulling over of your life in general. Yes, this year has been tough, emotionally. No one would blame me for being a wee bit disgruntled, I think. But what has occurred to me this evening is that much of that frustration would be abated if I weren’t in the back of my mind constantly waiting for something magical to happen. You see, I’m the sort of gal whose first thought upon seeing the UPS truck drive down the street is, “Maybe someone sent me a present!” (Nope. Dang it.)

I live with this steady state of anticipation that something really awesome is about to happen. It may seem on first blush to be a good, optimistic tendency, but an awful lot of the time, what happens is decidedly NOT awesome. It’s the opposite of awesome. It’s anti-awesome. It’s “Hey, mom. The cat puked on the rug.” or “Um, honey. Is the oven SUPPOSED to be smoking?” or “We didn’t really need A/C in the van, anyways.” I suspect that on those occasions when I am less than gracious with life as it truly is, it is due to the fact that I am So. Bitterly. Disappointed. Where is my Publisher’s Clearinghouse giant check? Where is my Schwan’s drugstore moment? Why doesn’t that stupid UPS truck ever stop?! I can’t always be responding to these things like Cinderella waiting on some slacker Fairy Godmother.

And let me state now and for the record that I know how good I have it. I’m healthy. My kids are healthy. I have a lovely, and thankfully, gainfully employed husband. I’m a firm believer in attending to small blessings; “Life’s perfect moments are now” and all that…blah, blah,blah…But my head is also filled with these crazy ideas of the perfect person I am going to morph into just as soon as…something happens. I don’t know what. That’s the thing I’m really waiting for, I guess. The magical metamorphosis of me. Uber me. Super me. Me to the power of Awesome.

Awesome Lanie doesn’t complain about her kitchen or have chicken wing arms or find dust bunnies the size of tennis balls behind the tub. She is not exhausted every freaking evening of her life or laugh out loud if people suggest some sort of outing after 8pm on a weekday. She is productive, happy, astute and, frankly, unlike the real deal would never eat an entire pint of ice cream and then blame it on the kids. She finds time to volunteer, she has never missed one of her children’s “Student of the Month” events because she fell asleep(!) And do you know why? Because she’s AWESOME, that’s why.

She is also a colossal pain in my behind. It’s probably why I waste energy wishing I’d win the lottery or be magically swept away by Nathan Fillion (who would love me, if only he met me.) Because all those things have a far greater chance of happening than me becoming that perfect version of myself who lives in my head.

I know. I KNOW. Perfectionism is rarely a good thing, as it tends just to make one, well, crazy and all. But it does tend to push you forward and at least try to be better than you might otherwise be. If it weren’t for Awesome Lanie maybe I’d just give up the ghost entirely and morph into slovenly, Lazy-ass Lanie. She’s in there, too. Lazy-ass Lanie would love nothing more than to spend each and every day lying on the couch, surrounded by bags of Hot Cheetos and watching Bravo reality television. Without the pressure exerted by Awesome Lanie, I might just lie there, brain turning to jello, in front of the flickering set. The house would fall in on itself. The children would be raised by wolves. Hubby would starve to death once the cold cereal ran out.

I’m not sure that there is much to be done. Frankly, I just wouldn’t be myself without the constant push and pull of arguably unrealistic expectations. I still think it’s good to try to be better, even if it makes me a tiny bit nuts. I still think there are about a million ways that I could improve. And I definitely think someone should send me a present.

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The Rise & Fall of a Momocracy

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