I just had a look back through old December blog posts from years gone by, and I see a bit of a trend. This time of year always has me thinking about the same thing: perfection.
What can I say, I really love Christmas, and if there’s any time of the year that life is perfect, this is it! At least it’s supposed to be?
There’s a lot of pressure at Christmas to have the perfect day.
We’re supposed to cherish this special time with our loved ones – which makes any inevitable bickering all the more devastating. We’re supposed to buy the perfect gifts – how else will our families know how creative and clever we are, and just how important they are to us? And we’re supposed to have delightful life updates for Aunt Marge to prove to our families that nope, we aren’t having any trouble with this adulting thing.
And if something happens to dampen our spirits over the holidays something must seriously be wrong with us because hello, this is the most wonderful time of the year!
Haha I sound like a bitter old Grinch right now, which is strange because actually I don’t know when I’ve been so excited about the holidays.
But that’s just the thing – I haven’t always been this excited about the holidays. I mean, I’ve always really loved Christmas and it’s probably always been my favorite time of the year, but at the same time I’ve also spent a lot of years dreading it, just a little.
While I’ve changed and developed in many ways over time – as apparently is the way with this thing called growing up – there are certain things about me that I think will always remain the same. I will always be a tiny bit scared of heights, I’ll always be a shy extrovert, despite all my best efforts, my voice will always be this high pitched, and I will always be a perfectionist.
I don’t think it’s always clear that I’m a perfectionist – probably because I’m actually pretty bad at it – but I do secretly really care about what other people think of me and the things that I do. Which is weird because I think all of my friends would describe me as super laidback. Too laidback.
And when a friend was stressing over some life choices that some people in her life didn’t seem to wholly support, she asked me how I’m able to be okay with doing so many socially odd things. Thanks, Ann.
The answer? Travel.
I know I’m always saying this, but seriously, travel has showed me that there are so many ways to live, that social expectations will vary drastically depending on where on the globe you happen to find yourself, and ultimately, there are so many different ways for something to be “perfect.”
Okay, I know I’m basically saying people’s perception of what’s perfect varies so much that perfection doesn’t really exist, but the perfectionist in me can’t quite let the concept go, so instead I’ve learned to embrace a whole lot of versions of perfect.
The perfect that means being late to everything, because guys, in some countries it’s actually rude to be on time!
The perfect that means having silly arguments with my boyfriend because, as those Hollywood romances taught us, the perfect couple has to be real enough to fight.
The perfect that means being a Norwegian who’s really uncomfortable on skis, because I’m also an American.
The perfect that means not having even a hint of a thigh gap, because in some places having thighs is a good thing.
The perfect that means finishing my blog post several hours late, because actually that is the perfect time for any US-based readers.
The perfect that means picking on your best friend, because in some cultures that’s how you show love (I say that because my friend Stephanie is always so mean to me, but I assume it’s just a cultural thing and she doesn’t actually hate me. Right? … ???)
And guys! In Japan a lot of women actively try to make their voices as high as mine, as if it’s a good thing!
Even spending three days at Oslo Airport last week after my flight to London was cancelled turned out to be pretty perfect. At least, it was a perfect example of what all this fuss over Mercury retrograde has been about.
And just fyi, the way I broke all the Christmas cookies while taking them off the baking tray is actually the perfect way to celebrate in Greece. You might have thought it was only about smashing plates, but it works with cookies too.
What I’m saying is, I hope you have a perfect end to 2017, and if it doesn’t feel so perfect, well, I’m sure it would be considered perfect somewhere! And if you’re not so sure, just call it Norwegian – I’ve heard people are really peculiar up there.