Life’s Formula

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I’ve been thinking a lot about life expectations. What I expect, what others expect and what society expects. But mostly, what I expect and why I expect that. We are raised to think that happiness is some magical formula. Like X + Y = Z = happiness and success. Well, the fact is that very often, X doesn’t work out, Y seems to keep alluding you, and Z isn’t what you thought it would be, you can’t even solve for it, or you’re not even sure if you want to. As someone who grew up where, well, to be honest, everything came quite easily to me and things just worked out well, this whole formula not working thing is very frustrating. I always loved algebra because you could always get the answer! You KNEW when you had it! There was no gray, only black and white. And A+’s, always A+’s.

But life isn’t like that. There’s a lot of gray. There are things in life that don’t get an A+. There’s a lot of fumbling around in the dark. Not everything is perfect. It doesn’t matter what life circumstance you’re in, something doesn’t go as planned. That’s just life.

So. How to deal.

I sure as heck don’t know. I’m learning as I go. I was hoping you could tell me. πŸ™‚

Here’s what I do know:

Focusing on the positive is important.

You’re luckier than you realize.

You’re more talented than you think.

People love you. And believe in you. Get them to tell you why sometimes. It helps.

Comparing yourself to others accomplishes nothing.

Exercise and sleep make everything a little better. Sometimes wine helps. And clean sheets. Clean sheets always help.

Getting in a funk happens. Try to get to the root of what’s causing the funk. Try journalling. Or, if you’re not a writer, talk to someone you trust. Just get them to listen.

Good friends and good neighbors are priceless. Same goes for family. Don’t take them for granted and try to let them know how much you appreciate them.

Indulge in some self-care regularly. If you can’t afford a massage or a pedicure, try a hot bath with epsom salts.

No matter how perfect you think someone’s life is…it’s not.

I don’t know what perfect is…I kind of think it doesn’t exist. So aiming for something that doesn’t exist can be quite disheartening. I’m really not in some dark, sad place like you might think from this post. It’s just that I’ve been thinking about life in general a lot, and I’ve been catching myself comparing myself to others and feeling like a failure because I’m not where I’m “supposed” to be. I don’t really believe in fate, but if I step back and think about it, I believe that we are all where we are supposed to be, learning what we need to, experiencing what is essential for our personal growth.

So I’m trying to embrace it. Embrace right where I’m supposed to be. To revel in the growing pains. Can I at least get an A for effort? πŸ˜‰

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    47 responses to “Life’s Formula”

    1. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now but have yet to comment. I just had to let you know that this post really resonated with me. I’ve been feeling unsure of myself lately and thinking that I’m not where I’m supposed to be at this point in my life. It’s hard sometimes to really look at what you have and realize that even though you may not be doing what you think you should be doing (or maybe what you think others think you should be doing, if that makes sense) it doesn’t mean you’re not right where you’re supposed to be. I need to remind myself that sometimes.

      I just re-read that and I’m not sure it made much sense, ha ha. But this post is spot on.

    2. Love this post little lady. I think we are a lot alike in where we’re at in our lives so I continue to read your blog after filtering out many “healthy living” blogs over the last few years. Keep up the fun, real, honest content.

    3. This is such a key thing to remember, that wherever we are right now, that is where we are supposed to be. It may not seem “perfect”, but nothing is, and it is so important to appreciate what you have NOW. Great post!

    4. Hi! I am also a long-time follower of your blog who has yet to comment on a post, but this one really hits home for me. This is EXACTLY the kind of thing I was trying to convince myself of during a really tough semester in college this past school year. Now that I am home for the summer and have had time to reflect, I don’t have to convince myself anymore that I’m only good enough if I do XYZ. I’m good enough just the way I am, and as long as I give my best effort in life and continue doing the work to keep my heart and mind open, I have nothing to be ashamed of or to regret. Great post!!!


    5. Ah, i’m usually such a lurker, but I had to comment today. I really needed to hear this. I have constantly been struggling with thinking I’m the only one who doesn’t have my $!@! together, and reading that others feel like it too brings me some serious peace. Your blog is always the first one I check each morning. I started following you because you lived in NC and I had just moved to Charlotte, but now it feels like I’m catching up with an old friend. Thanks for these words today, girl. Xo

    6. You get an A+ on that one! You may enjoy one of my favorite quotes that fits in with your thoughts:
      “Life isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. It is what is. It’s how you deal with it that makes the difference.” Not sure who said it, but it’s a great reminder. Enjoy your vacation!

    7. Another reader-non-poster but thanks for the post.

      I have been struggling a lot with this lately in my life! Sometimes I actually feel really confident in what I’m doing, but I get distracted or down when other people put me down (for being too healthy or my early morning exercise routine). It’s silly but then I start comparing myself to others and feel like I’m missing something. I’ve been in a funk for sure, but trying to pull out of it slowly but surely. It’s good to know we all wonder about these things. My mom says I’m too serious and think too much sometimes, but I like being aware and in touch/understanding that this is just reality.

      You seem to have a very blessed and full life though–and I commend your ability to put yourself out there and write a (great) blog. I definitely don’t feel confident or interesting enough to do that yet…but maybe one day… Thanks for putting yourself out there on a tough, somewhat uncomfortable subject!

    8. Thank you so much, Teri. I needed to hear this today. πŸ™‚ Thank you, and have a wonderful 4th!

    9. Recently in a book I read a woman retold a little lesson her father used to tell her. He would say to think about everyone having a paper bag that held all their problems, hardships, struggles, and sadness. If you put them all together, would you want to trade yours and pick someone else’s? No, right?! Everyone has problems and you never know what goes on behind closed doors, so being thankful for what you have and your own situation is so important!

    10. Thank you for posting this. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one struggling. I’m in a place in my life right now where I feel stuck between what I “should” do (according to family/friends/society) and what I really “want” to do, and it’s a hard place to be. I really am grateful for what I have, so I often find myself wondering, “Why is this not enough for me? Why can’t my heart be content? Do I need therapy?” lol πŸ™‚

    11. Thank you! I find myself comparing myself to others all the time..thinking things should be different. But the reality is I am where I am suppose to be! And generally LIFE IS GOOD!

    12. Fantastic post, love! I turn THIRTY tomorrow, and I can tell you that the past 5 years have been completely the opposite of how I thought everything would play out in my life. And I still haven’t come close to figuring things out or even knowing what I’ll doing next year. I think part of it is that there are certain ages where milestones commonly happen and when they don’t you [the general “you”] feel like you’re off track. Kids by thirty, career all figured out by thirty, a nice cushiony savings, etc. Hmm, seems like a lot of those happen around the 30 mark…and I haven’t hit any of them yet! haha — Just trying to embrace the life I do have and learning to not fret as much about the day to day. I’ve definitely improved my outlook over the past year! Wish we lived closer because I think we could talk for days about this stuff. πŸ™‚ love + hugs

    13. YES.

      I’ve wanted to have babies for … ever. It’s felt like a long time to get where I’m at — baby due in December! — and all along the way I felt like I was falling short because I hadn’t already gotten to this point. I even worried that once I did finally get here, I’d be somewhat resentful that it’d taken so long. I spent years comparing mysef to all the people I knew who were starting families.

      But now that I’m here? I’m ready and happy and not resentful at all. Being here doesn’t look exactly like I thought it would, but that’s so inconsequential, I’m realizing. I wish I’d understood that a lot earlier, but I’m glad that — at the very least — I DO understand it.

    14. This post is absolutely enlighting…really resonates with me. The past two years there has been so much strife and heart break. Losing myself in “comparing myself to others yourself ” game.
      I need a daily reminder of how far I’ve come and look forward to the great journey of life. I have this quote posted on my phone β€œBe yourself; everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde

      I enjoy reading your blog.

    15. This post couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time in my life. Thanks for sharing.

    16. such important and sage insight. i was in a 8.5-year relationship that i thought would eventually result in marriage and this past year has involved lots of soul-searching and expectation-shedding. coming to the realization that only certain things are in your control and that this ‘magical equation’ you speak of is nothing but an illusion is one of the best things you can do for your sanity and wellbeing. although i am totally not where i thought/expected i would be at 37, i’ve made some peace with it and am really happier than i have been in a long time- possibly even ever. so, i agree with all of your points and applaud you for sharing them!

    17. I’m printing this post for my daughter! Thank you!

      Not to get all preachy, but God created each & every one of us exactly how He wants us to be (different from each other!), & He has a plan for each of our lives. Trust in that.

      • couldn’t agree more, Julie.

        God. His faithfulness and the peace, confidence & strength He gives us is unlike ANYTHING else. Changes lives…. pray…. He’s reaching out……….

    18. I can really relate to this post. This past year has thrown me a few curveballs, and I’ve had to realize that life doesn’t exactly turn out the way you planned or wanted it to.Going with the flow and focusing on the positive are some valuable life lessons I’ve learned of late!

    19. thanks so much for this. i was wondering if you have any posts on your separation/marriage/etc. because i haven’t followed you since you were married and i feel like, based on this post, those posts would probably be really insightful and helpful. just thought i’d ask since i didn’t know where to search & i’m a fairly new follower.
      love the blog!

    20. This is amazing. I’ve been in the worst funk since Sunday, and I can’t get out of it. You read my mind completely and I love your outlook on perfection. No one is perfect.

      I’ll definitely be sharing this on my blog, if you don’t mind!

      xo Kelly

    21. I just wanted to thank for you for writing this post Teri. All your words hit so close to home and you’ve given me some perspective. So thank you!
      I wish you a wonderful week ahead.
      X Emy

    22. A++ for effort! So relatable in so many ways. Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Scary, but exciting at the same time, no? Since having realized, then accepted, that that’s okay, I’ve learned to better appreciate the JOURNEY that is life πŸ™‚

    23. Great post, Teri! I can completely relate to your sentiments. I do believe that things happen for a reason and that even crappy moments are an essential part of our growth. I’m trying to embrace the present and the positive as much as possible and not focus so much on the negative and the future. Living in the moment!

    24. teri – where i perceive i “should be” and imagining what my life “could be” is constant struggle for me. it seriously wakes me up in the middle of the night. this post is so beautifully written. i need to print it out and read it every day. thank you so much for opening up and sharing what is on your heart.

    25. I would like to add something that I know. I have learned that if I am remotely down, the best thing I can do is to reach out to help someone else, whether it be to listen to their problems or to physically do something to assist. When I start helping others, my problems go by the wayside. I feel better and am often better able to see my problem and a solution.

    26. im not eloquent enough to write something as on point as this, but its exactly how i feel.

    27. Great post, some wise words. If everyone was the same, you’d just be average. No one should aspire to be just average. Don’t conform – be different and be amazing.

      Also, I once heard something which I thought of when I read your blog which is good to remind yourself of every one in a while:

      It’s never too late to become the person you always wanted to be.

      Have a great day!

    28. I love this post. I feel that I weave times like what your describing in and out of my daily routine. Perfection doesn’t it exist. But I don’t think that means I am going to give up trying to reach for something. I will NOT however beat myself up over things that don’t go as planned.

    29. Hi, I’m a new blogger, and new to your blog. What a great post. As a high-school high achiever and self-proclaimed perfectionist I understand these sentiments exactly. And the reassurance of maths with its right answers and logical rules. Feel free to check out my (baby) blog. I’ll definitely be popping back here again. Thanks for a lovely read.

    30. I was thinking about all this last night and had many of the same thoughts, seriously. You must have read my mind! It’s nice to know someone is dealing with the same challenge.

    31. Clicked over from another blog’s links and couldn’t be more thrilled with this post and thankful for your wisdom. Thanks for sharing!

    32. It’s always great to have some one say “hey its okay” and remember the little things. Putting life into perspective and realizing what we do have (friends, family, gifts) makes it so much better. There’s a reason we’re all at different places in our lives. Thanks for sharing!

    33. I also loved high school because of that feeling that if I worked hard enough and studied enough I could get the “right” answers. Life definitely is not like that and the gray area is so much more reality than a “right” answer or a “right”way for life to be. Thanks for the post.

    34. Love this so much! I think the one thing I have learned is that we go through exactly what each of us needs to go through. It just it what it is, and if we would just stop fighting life so much, we could actually enjoy it a whole hell of a lot more πŸ™‚

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