Monday Morning Wake Up Call!

It would be so nice, wouldn’t it? If something as simple as a notebook could change our habits overnight. Those blank pages. The physical representation of our fresh start. It’s almost religious. A sense of being born again. And this time, I won’t screw it up (cut to credits).

But I always did: screw it up, that is. It didn’t take much, particularly with diet and exercise – an unplanned slice of office birthday cake, or a missed spin class. A week could go from “new me” to “write-off” in the blink of an eye, the remaining days a sordid opportunity to revel in my failure, until Monday rolled around and I could start again (again).

Perfectionism. Fresh startism. All-or-nothing. Perfectionists aren’t great at swimming through the murky grey of slow and steady self-improvement, the kind that leads to meaningful change. Where inertia or regression isn’t failure, and it doesn’t take a Monday to get going.

So we diet then binge, buy new stationery, sign up to a gym and swing wildly between our new and old selves, wondering when our real lives will finally begin.

It was a relief, honestly, discovering that I was simply a victim of my schema, lost in a sea of all-or-nothing thinking inspired by a problematic self-improvement discourse. That the shimmering, perfect-from-now-on self I was reaching for doesn’t exist, because her story keeps going after the credits roll. While change is possible, it’s rarely linear. Any pledge for self-improvement that assumes we can sever off our less desirable personality traits is a lie.

I finally finished my book, the one I wish I’d read as a teenager, about a girl who discovers imperfections are part of being human and learns to see the world with a little more nuance. The process of slowly but surely reworking the manuscript into something that isn’t perfect, but is wholly me, helped reframe my thinking about meaningful change.

Is there such a thing as a whole new me? I wouldn’t know. Most days, I’ve stopped searching for her.

— Miranda Luby, from “Where ever you go, there you are: the myth of the whole new me” (The Guardian, August 21, 2022).  Sadie Starr’s Guide to Starting Over by Miranda Luby is out now. 

Comments

  1. We love the expression “Fresh startism”.
    In Japan they call it wabi sabi wabi-sabi (侘寂), the acceptance and praise of imperfection. It’s an important concept of their aesthetics.
    Have a happy week
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “Reworking the manuscript”…if I can get past all the ‘suck it up, buttercup’ self-talk, I may get there…

    Liked by 4 people

  3. “While change is possible, it’s rarely linear.” Amen to that. Sounds like this young woman’s wisdom belies her age…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like that you shared this on a Monday 😁

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Striving for self-improvement goals is a good thing, but sometimes it gets a bit much with magazines telling us all how to “be.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just the post I needed to see as I slowly come back to my blog world. Again.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry, but I find “self-improvement” and all the cataloguing of faults simply a way to avoid being fully present. And, boring. Take me back to being out on Island Cove with the water, the birds, the changing light.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Who told us we’re not great enough AS IS? ♥️🌷

    Liked by 1 person

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