It’ll all come together

Lucy is special. She’s thoughtful, kind, stupidly beautiful, incredibly stylish and impossibly hilarious. I, *confession face*, am frequently envious of Lucy and her lovely life – of how ‘together’ she is.

And yet. Along comes Lucy with a post that does a blinding job of reminding me that how I perceive someone is quite often not how they perceive themselves. Which is interesting.

Do you feel the same as Lucy, as you’re growing up/older? And have you learnt to just let go and take life as it comes?

I am in a period of transition at the moment. In November we decided that I was going to stop looking at Rightmove and be happy in our home until we needed to move for schools. Did that stop me from looking at Rightmove? Did it balls. A few days later we found a house we really liked, in the area we didn’t think we could afford. We viewed it, put ours on the market, sold and moved 6 weeks later.

Since then we have been renovating. It has escalated and become all consuming. It will be fabulous one day soon, but for now it is hard. And it is dusty. My inner monologue offers me some peace. It says that once the house is done, I’ll be more together. This stage of my life is almost over. It’ll be ok.

That was when I realised that this isn’t the first time I’ve done this. And it needs to stop.

At each stage in my life, from school, to university, work, wedding, career change, baby, I have thought that when I get to the next stage, I’ll look more together.

You know, with nicer nails, better hair, the right amount of make up and a less cluttered wardrobe with trousers that fit my arse. It’s ok that I don’t have that sorted today, I tell myself as I pull on my my leggings with holes in the thighs that really shouldn’t be worn outside of the house, because if only I can get to the next stage of my life THEN I’ll be sorted. And it will be amazing.

I will go through phases within each stage of my life where I have a blitz and get some new nail varnish, maybe have a haircut, wear make up every day, bag up clothes for the charity shop and beg Aisling to help me shop. It is short lived. It makes me feel better for a while but then I lapse. I get tired. My skin feels sort of furry with make up on it every day. My nails chip within the hour. My only smart shoes always seem to be drawn to the uneven bits in the pavement that will damage them beyond repair. Especially when I’ve borrowed those shoes from my Ma. But that’s ok because I just need to get to the next Stage and then it will all happen.

Except it won’t. The sensible part of me has been playing pretend for years. I’m not sure why I would think that the future me will want to be a different me from the me I am today. I am even less sure why I have this love hate relationship with being better presented. I could do it if I wanted couldn’t I?

And there are perks to staying how I am. Whilst I do scrub up ok, I actually forget how well until I put the effort in. And that makes it a lovely surprise each time. Where would be the fun in never having that element of surprise in the mirror?

The joiner just called to say he can work tomorrow, which is a Saturday. The house is almost done. But I won’t be That Girl anytime soon, whatever the next stages of my life will be. I’ll be the same girl who mostly has a bare face, dry hands and shhh my ‘indoor leggings’ on out of the house. But outside a new house. And that’s ok.

Categories: Life Experience
24 interesting thoughts on this

24 Comments

  1. ChirstyMac
    Posted March 10, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Love this. It can so feel like I’m the only one living this ‘delayed gratification’ life. – “It’ll all be just fine and I can relax and be happy as soon as / when / once…” Slightly relieved it’s not just me.

    If anyone out there knows the key to quitting hankering after the ‘next stage’ and enjoying living in the moment (just the way it is) please do share!

    • Posted March 10, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      I’ve found mindfulness really helps with this. It probably isn’t for everyone but it has really helped me with my constant planning/thinking ahead and regularly falling foul of the “arrival fallacy”. There are lots of free apps out there which you can use to get started easily. Lucy, I’m so pleased you have written this because it is something with which so many of us can identify, particularly if we like to have goals and push ourselves. I always think I’ll be a shinier version of myself ‘after’ whatever it is…but it doesn’t happen. I’m usually a more wrung-out version! But that’s ok. A surprise in the mirror is always nice!

  2. Posted March 10, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Yep I know exactly what you mean. Not specifically with the looking good but more “I’ll be happy/settled/a proper grown up/can start living my life when I get married/start this job/buy a house etc”

    Its a bit dangerous. I’ve started trying to think maybe I’ve got x to look forward to but today I’m happy because… A bit like the IWD advice from a couple of people – enjoy the little things. Singing along to the radio with the sun shining down is my current favourite.

    • Becca
      Posted March 10, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      I agree. I took 10 minutes to sit on a bench yesterday and just turn my head to the sun. T’was wonderful.

  3. Posted March 10, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I can definitely relate to this. I’m always guilty of thinking, ‘one day I’ll have a proper, grown up routine and will leave the house looking polished instead of doing my make up on the train every day.’ But that’s just the creature I am though: train make up girl. And maybe that’s perfectly ok :)

  4. Posted March 10, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Before we moved M kept saying “Once we move we’ll x.y,z” (obvously not x,y,z but listing things) and I said that life does not work like that so our options were
    1. Make those things happen in the now
    2. Make those things happen post move even if we were not settled or whatever

    In the end we are working our way through the number 2 version. I listed all the things we would start doing once we moved and we are actually doing them, like eating dinner at the dining table rather than using it as a dumping ground, walking more, going out on weekends, eating more vegetables, exploring the city we live in etc.. we are happy (ish) in who we are but if we really want to change something then waiting until life is perfect and all the ducks are in a row means potentially waiting forever, and I for one don’t want to keep waiting for my life to start.

    I am however now completely okay with the fact I will always walk into lamposts, never be poised and never command a room unless all the people in there already know and respect me. I have other different strengths.

    Ooh this has been wonderful Lucy, sorry my response is so about me, but you’ve made me feel so much better this morning – I think none of us feel we have it totally together all the time and so if none of us do – why the pressure??

  5. Yanthé
    Posted March 10, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Hallelujah. Thank you Lucy x

  6. Posted March 10, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I have always been like that – it’ll be better when x happens. I can’t wait for y to happen because then everything will be fine, suddenly I’ll be the person I’ve always wanted to be, as well as happier, with shiny hair, and perfect skin. Somehow, magically, I will emerge from a chrystalis as this perfect version of me.

    Since the start of this year something’s clicked. I don’t know whether it’s because I was getting overwhelmed before Christmas by a lot of things and I knew I couldn’t go on focussing on how perfect things will be in the future. All I know is I’m no longer longing for certain things to happen and wishing my time away. I can be happier now, and realise I’m never going to be perfectly put together. It’s just not me, and it never will be. I don’t want it to be me. I can admire people who are like that, and wonder how they do it, but I’m no longer trying to force myself into being something I’m just not.

    Like Siobhan, I am concentrating on things I can and should change, and doing them now. Not when something else happens, not when the weather gets better, not when I have more money. I’m finding what’s happened is I no longer have time to focus on the things I want to be. Instead I’m noticing the things I already am and learning to be happy about that.

  7. Fee
    Posted March 10, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I am dreadful for doing this. I’m constantly trying to create the better version of myself. I never find it because the goalposts constantly change (thanks to me, no-one else).

    I had a ‘Eureka!’ moment a few weeks ago when my husband showed me the photo he took of me as they handed me our son in the delivery room. At first I really didn’t like it because as you can imagine, I’m not looking my best but it’s my husband’s favourite photo of me because he says I look so unbelievably happy.

    That made me realise that rather than constantly trying to be this better version of myself I should concentrate on not missing the moments that happen to this actual version of myself. I have what I always wanted. It’s time to stop and enjoy it, chipped nail varnish, unkempt eyebrows and all!

    Thanks for writing this Lucy, it’s fantastic x

    • Posted March 10, 2014 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      Yes, this – I am trying to make a conscious effort to notice that I’m happy and ignore the fact that my inner monologue is saying ‘but you haven’t cleaned your teeth yet/brushed your hair/decided what you’re doing today/found a job’ etc etc -as you say concentrate on the now that you have rather than a version of the future you may not. And small things (like a creme egg, or line-dried washing) make me just as happy as big things.

      i would like to point out that I always do clean my teeth eventually. It’s just that post baby it seems to slip later and later in the day. Mysterious.

      K x

  8. Becca
    Posted March 10, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Yeah but….no but….my life will genuinely be better when I’m a size 8, take control of my eyebrows, have clothes that fit without holes, buy a house with sexy floor tiles and/or a SMEG and/or kitchen aid.

    • Posted March 10, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      I love that your eyebrows are out of control. ASBO eyebrows!

  9. Posted March 10, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    So glad you have written this post Lucy! I’m sure I’m not the only one going “Lucy isn’t totally together all the time EH??” I think that goes to show that this Platonic ideal we are striving for is often informed by comparisons we make to others. We see the best in others and the worst in ourselves, so we’re constantly setting unattainable goals.

    I had an incomprehensibly sad and frightening text message last night that made me rush into our nursery and look at my little boy and give thanks over and over again until my head hurt. I feel bad for worrying about where we live and going back to work and all that crap. We have a home, I have a job, I am fortunate enough to have the family I’ve always wanted. We were watching Woody Harrelson’s character in True Detective (amazing series by the way) saying how it’s not that we are guilty of wishing our lives away so much as we are guilty of “inattention” of what we have now.

    Px

    • Posted March 10, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Yes! Inattention, definitely.

      Anyone who’s said ‘I’m not together all the time” will probably be met by ‘Whaaaaaat?! No way’, but particularly Lucy S… there’s no hope for the rest of us!

      Seriously though, I’d frankly be suspicious of anyone who thought they were perfect all the time. My mum likes to say that there’s grace in imperfection. And who says what is perfect anyway? Good one, mum.

  10. Morwenna
    Posted March 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for writing this Lucy. I’ve spent most of my twenties planning for the next thing, and thinking I’ll be better/more intelligent/more grown up/more ‘together’ once I’ve achieve certain things. I am thirty this year and going to make a conscious effort to enjoy and appreciate what I’ve already achieved, and be kind to myself. Great post. x

  11. Posted March 10, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I am another one nodding my head and agreeing!
    Constantly beating ourselves up for not finishing the never ending to-do list, or not having become the person we told ourselves we would become, is exhausting. The irony is – very few people other than ourselves even notice.

  12. Posted March 10, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    My husband always says I’m like this and I always respond that I’m not. But he is right. He’s an oasis of calm and happiness and worries very rarely. For example, he was worried about taking 14 work exams over 12 months which he had to pass or he’d lose his job. That’s a proper worry and A Proper Goal.

    He’s got no idea what mindfulness is, always buys his clothes from the same shops and only looks when he needs something, has a schedule for his haircuts, sings in the shower and will only eat biscuits two at a time. And he never thinks anyone is better than him. He’s just contented.

    Me, I know exactly what mindfulness is but my mind is so full I find it impossible, I never feel like my clothes are suitable for a 34 year old with A Proper Job (or for the playtime version of me), get my hair done when it looks truly awful, daren’t sing in the shower and will worry about biscuit-eating. I always think people are better than me. I’m a worrier.

    All for the same reason of A Better Me In The Future, but my fella already thinks I’m an Awesome Me. Someone wrote that if you’re always thinking of the future, you’ll not remember the present, just some wierd version that never happened and probably wasn’t as good. I like that idea – I don’t want to be a stranger to myself!

  13. Posted March 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    These comments are truly wonderful! I hadn’t imagined this would strike a chord with so many of us! What a relief its not just me. It’s interesting reading from those of you who have similar things but with jobs or homes or or or…!

    Mindfulness is a great idea, as is the list making idea of thinga to change right now. The eating at the dinner table made me say ‘YES!!’ in sainsburys car park (where I’m having 5 mins AOW time whilst Rory naps) It’s definitely one of those things I plan on doing in the new house. That and go to the library. Although we have started doing that one already.

    I absolutely love the idea of a troupe of AOW readers marching through the streets with their indoor leggings/ unruly eyebrows/ *insert imperfection you’ll see to one day* and meeting the other troupe part of the way who have either done something about it OR not and are totally cool with it.

    What an idea!

  14. Posted March 10, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    You sound SO already together, Together Girl!!!!

    Please please please re-read what you have written (and think about all the other things you’ve acheived in your life that you didn’t put in that post) and realise how much you have done! You should be proud.

    And a blimming great post at that – be proud of that too.

    : )

    • Posted March 13, 2014 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Thank you Victoria. You’re right. I don’t think I’m perfectly presented but I am grateful for my other accomplishments. I try to laugh at myself for picturing the future me being vastly different from the current me but the tendency to rely on some aspects of my presentation magically transforming in the future is a hard habit to break!

  15. Posted March 10, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    I really like this post -I’m always thinking ahead to the next thing (holiday, meal, house, job) instead of enjoying what I have now. And I keep thinking that there is a future version of myself that is completely together, with hair that does what it’s supposed to and a shade of foundation that is actually right (seriously. How hard can it be?!). I think this future version is further away now post-baby… she may appear eventually…

    I found myself doing the ‘one day we will do this properly’ thing with the baby when we were starting her routine. Every day it would go a bit ‘wrong’ according to the book and I would tell myself we were just practising, that we’d start doing it ‘properly’ soon. Eventually I’ve realised that we are doing it properly -it might not be what’s in the book but everyone’s happy -and I shouldn’t be feeling dissatisfied that we’re not exactly conforming to some ideal that someone else has decided.

    K x

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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