Fall. Next to January, I notice that it's the time of year many of my friends launch themselves into self-improvement projects. I get it. At age 11, I decided to fix my thighs (aerobics); at 19, to fix my soul (daily mass). In my 30s, I vowed to fix my mothering (support group, too many books) and, a few years ago, I told my husband we had to fix our marriage (therapy, time alone, other stuff I can't write about).
Recently however, self-improvement and I—especially when it comes to my roles as wife, mother and adult female—have decided to part ways. I've decided that constant self-improvement is for moms and wives and women who think of themselves as inadequate, and that I'd be much improved if I didn't think that way anymore.
Don't get me wrong. I could use a million little fixes (and a few big ones). But. I turned 50 not long ago and figured out that life really is kind of short. I've sworn off the self-help books, the (un)reality TV shows about second careers, extreme makeovers and life do-overs. Like thousands of foreclosed houses on the market, I now come "as is." When Self-Help Books Backfire
It was not always so. Over the course of my adult life, there have been excursions into self-actualization, mindful growth, claiming my authenticity, expanding my horizons, seeking enlightenment, making positive affirmations, eating and being in some zone, and twelve-stepping to some new place that was always just another plateau. I took classes, joined support groups, journaled for peak performance. Then I realized that if I didn't stop the manic frenzy of trying to better myself, at age 95 I'd likely still never know the secret. The Top 10 Relationship Books Of The 00s
But now I do: there is no secret.