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Why I Stopped Chasing an "Optimal" Life

Burrs aren't really his favorite. :o)

My health has never been perfect. As long as I can remember, I have always dealt with some form of allergies, migraines, pain, and fatigue. I remember my first severe migraine happened in middle school under the bright florescent lights. The room became blurry and fuzzy and I eventually lost my ability to speak and fully see. I was somehow able to get myself to the office, but I don't remember much else after that. The next time I became aware of my surroundings was in my dark bedroom at home, restlessly trying to survive a long and slow recovery process. It was a brutal experience that repeated itself several times over the course of the next decade or so.

Enter the Clueless Era

Over the years, the symptoms and medical mysteries piled on, but never enough to fully stop me in my tracks for very long. I would notice strange things happening, but mostly just ignored them. During this time, I had no idea what was triggering or contributing to my health issues, so I simply carried on with life as usual most of the time. That is, until the big crash hit.

Enter the Obsession Era

Although I was able to carry on with regular life up to that point, everything changed after I had my third child. A few months after she was born, my body decided to fully give out. I could no longer work or participate in society. I was no longer able to deny or ignore what was happening. Everything seemed to be going wrong at a neck breaking pace and I knew I was going to have to drastically slow my life down and focus fully on my health. It was necessary. There is no way I was going to be able to "bandaid" my way through it anymore. This process took several years and I became obsessed with trying to figure out how to get better and get healthy. And, honestly, I don't fault myself for that. I was trying desperately to pull myself out of what felt like a dark, windowless cave full of locked doors and deadly bats. I really had no other choice.

But what happened during that time was that my brain became wired for chasing the "optimal" life. It happened for a reason and it makes total sense, but eventually that futile quest wiped me out mentally, emotionally, financially and even physically. The very act of trying to get as healthy as possible was actually making me worse in some ways. The gurus, the healers, the doctors, the chiropractors, the supplements, the medical testing, the books, and the constant studying all came with a cost.

Enter the Reasonable Era

While I do still believe that during the early stages of my healing process, I really did need to spend a lot of time on research and effort, once I was able to reach a reasonable level of functionality, I knew I was dealing with a different kind of reality. I could either stay in the excessive and obsessive quest for better and more optimal or I could relax into something a little more realistic.

At this point, I have come to realize that life is a moving target. There are so many twists and turns and unexpected curveballs that make the quest for optimal living highly unreasonable. Even the experts disagree on everything about life and I've noticed that my own responses to things will vary through the different seasons and chapters of my life. I have come to accept that it's much more peaceful for me to find a middle way approach to almost everything.

This middle way/good enough mindset has not only helped me with my health and mental health, but with everything in life. When I look at this scale in relation to almost every category of my life, I just feel a quiet sense of relief and peace.

So, this is my mindset I'm trying to cultivate now. I use a "good enough" scale to sort out my life and when things start to lean toward an unhealthy space for me, I try to make gentle and intentional changes back to a place that feels better. This way of looking at the world just feels so much better than trying to hustle my way to some kind of optimal arrival point.

As far as I can tell, the concept of optimized living is an illusion and nobody is handing out prizes for the person that figures out how to live a "perfect life."

So here's to the ones who are happy with good enough!

We got this!



As a disclaimer, I just want to say that I realize that there are times in life when we might need or want to allow ourselves to move outside the "good enough" zone for any number of reasons. If there is one thing I have learned in life it's to never say always or never. Also, if you are a person that has the resources and privileges to be able to move into the "optimal" zone in your life in some area for whatever reason, then that's great! I would never want to imply that nobody should ever shoot for optimal, if it's working for them. We are all coming at life from different places. This is just where I am coming from and landed after weighing the costs for me and my circumstances.


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