I recently caught Jane Fonda on Oprah, and she shared something she learned through the various stages of her life:
The challenge is not to be perfect, it’s to be whole.
I don’t know if this expression is uniquely Ms. Fonda’s or if she is restating another person’s wisdom, but that makes no difference to me. The point is, she is right on the money — and now, the challenge becomes determining my personal definition of “whole”.
(Maybe this is more of a New Year’s reflection than a Thanksgiving one, but oh well – for once I’m ahead of schedule).
I always joke that on paper, I’m perfect – then you look at me and see the twitching, stress, panic, lack of sleep, etc. that clearly reveals how far from perfect I am. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly thankful for what I have: a great husband, job, family and friends. Sure, there have been challenges along the way, but here I am, having made it through to the other side (I can’t necessarily say stronger than ever … but I made it. Yay me.).
After a lot of reflection, I realize it’s time to crumple up that magical piece of paper (where I appear to be “perfect”) and throw it away. It’s time to find my own personal definition of “whole” — ignoring other people’s definitions of “perfect” — and focus on that: giving thanks along the way for happiness, fulfillment, health, peace, growing relationships with family and friends, giving back, and a strong sense of who I am.
This Thanksgiving, I certainly realize I have a lot to be grateful for — and as ridiculous as it may sound, even the challenges that I have faced ultimately are helping me to learn, grow, and focus on what I need to do to become a better person; exploring how I can evolve in a way that is meaningful not only to me, but also to those that I love.
In other words, how I can become whole.
(With a little luck, I can only imagine how great it will be to write next year’s Thanksgiving post!)
Happy Thanksgiving – best wishes to you and yours.