On the chalkboard wall in our kitchen, my family wrote out a bucket list for the summer. It includes the usual summer in Toronto things like going to the CNE and hiking in Rouge Valley and pretending we’re on vacation at Harbourfront.
And then there’s one thing on there that’s just for me: no self-improvement.
For a very long time, most of my precious free time has been spent on activities designed to change myself in one way or another. I’ve read hundreds of books and listened to countless podcast episodes to learn how to increase my productivity or to leave my day job to start my own business; to become a kinder, gentler parent and to strengthen my marriage; to find the perfect diet and to achieve ultimate health.
When we’re constantly trying to improve ourselves, aren’t we really saying I’m not good enough? All of that energy dedicated to making future-me the best possible version of me that I kind of forgot about right-now-me. And that right-now-me has a pretty sweet life.
This realization struck me like a bolt of lightening. “What if instead of spending all this time trying to improve myself I spent some time just being myself?” I asked a friend.
And so my single-item summer bucket list was born. I’ve grown tired of always trying to be better, of trying to be someone else, so this summer I’m just going to try and be me.
So far, this has looked like:
- Deleting people I followed on Instagram that made me feel shitty about myself
- Cancelling my library holds on self-improvement books and checking out some juicy novels instead
- Booking time with my favourite trainer to remind myself of all the amazing things my body can do
- Really tuning into my hunger
- Skipping over episodes of my favourite podcasts if they touched on topics I’m already pretty well versed in (like the merits of plant-based diets)
- Saying no to projects that don’t light me up
- Putting my phone away for the hours between daycare pick-up and bedtime to be a fully present parent
- Closing the doors to new clients in my nutrition practice to make some space for self-care and fun
- Getting to work on a creative, just-for-fun project I’ve wanted to do for a long time (more on this soon!)
- Taking advantage of not being at full work capacity and enjoying some slow mornings
- Staying out past the baby’s bedtime to eat ice cream
Years ago when I decided I wanted something different, I was dreaming of a life that allowed for ease and spaciousness. Ease in my body and how I move about in this world. Space to take my time, to do what feels right, to go with the flow. But I’ve been so wrapped up in my continuous self-improvement projects that I completely missed the fact that right now I can have access to both of these feelings. It’s not a destination, it’s a concious choice to make peace with myself and where I am in my life right now.
We might only be a week into summer, but so far it’s been a good one. I’m choosing ease and spaciousness. I’m choosing to be enough. I’m looking forward to adding to this list and reporting back on how my project is going. In the meantime, follow along with me on Instagram to see what that looks like day-to-day!