From the moment we’re born, people ooh and ahh over our tiny features and silly gestures, never taking their eyes off our adorableness, just waiting to see what our next move will be.
But somewhere around five years old, the cute haze wears off and we cease to be so alluringly irresistible.
People stop paying attention.
This fact goes unnoticed by us. Used to everyone watching, we continue to think the world is our audience, resting on our every move, waiting to enthusiastically cheer our successes and mourn our failures.
Though we might not realize it’s happening, we have to work much harder to stand out from the crowd and garner that coveted praise. The more competitive the stakes, the more we aim for perfection.
Wow, aren’t you impressive!
You’re a big shot!
By all appearances your life is perfect.
Except here’s the funny thing …
No one gives a crap.
We fret endlessly about other people’s perception of our success, making decisions about our lives based on what we think they think.
We spend so many years yearning for acceptance and approval. Yet the reality is, everyone’s so busy tending to their own lives, they barely have time to notice anyone else’s.
Then, suddenly, at around age 40, the most wonderful thing in the world happens: we begin to realize nobody’s keeping tabs on our accomplishments.
So we stop trying to be perfect. We stop caring what everyone else thinks. And that’s when things finally begin to feel just right.
Here are eight telltale signs you no longer give a crap about being perfect:
1. You don’t care how much your family is worth. What matters is that the limited time you have together feels worthwhile. You might not be as far along as you hoped you would be. The debts may outweigh the debits. But, man, is life good.
2. You don’t care what kind of car you drive. What matters is that it gets you where you want to go. Together. The kid friendly pub in the Fall. The Farmers Market in the Spring. Or the beach in the Summer.
3. You don’t care if your kids attend a prestigious school. What matters is that you finally found a place that appreciates your kid for who he is and understands that children aren’t freaking robots.
4. You don’t care if your youngest is the first to be potty trained or give up the pacifier. What matters is that, three kids in, you finally realize that savoring the fleeting baby stage fills your heart and rushing through it fills you with regret.
5. You don’t care what people think about your parenting or if they agree that Ben and Jerry’s Free Ice Cream Day is a valid reason to skip school. What matters is that your kid’s think, at least for an hour, you’re the coolest parent ever.
6. You don’t care if things go according to plan when you have company. What matters is that you finally know who you really enjoy making plans with in the first place. And they could give a shit if you overcook their salmon.
7. You don’t care if you fall off the bike/paddleboard/horse and look like a complete ass even if someone posts it on YouTube for the whole world to see. What matters is that you got on in the first place.
8. You don’t care if some people don’t like you. What matters is that, finally, you really like yourself.
The beauty in getting older is that you don’t give a crap if your life looks perfect to others. You care that it feels perfect to you.