Brave, not perfect

I awoke to 2019 old enough to know better. To know better than to expect a shiny new feeling in a shiny new year. But I awoke content in the moment. I hope you did too.

I chose hearty oatmeal with my youngest rather than a morning aerobics class. Talk about “old enough to know better.” In my prime, I used to awaken on New Year’s Day more in need of an Alka-Seltzer than aerobics or oatmeal. My, how our choices change.

This morning, fittingly, I talked to my oldest son as he begins a new chapter in his life. Sounding excited as he drove through cornfields on a country highway, he is on his way to what I hope is a wonderful new adventure for him—college. He is approaching this adventure as he does all others, leaping in with both feet without looking both ways before crossing. In decades past, I was there to grab his little hand and make sure he didn’t rush into traffic. Now, as he rushes into what I can only call the traffic of “real life,” I hope he pauses every now and then.

I awoke my mop-headed youngest for breakfast. He sat at the table, still sleepy-eyed. And I was happy I still have one boy not yet a man. I can be content in the moment but look too far ahead and—oy. Who knows, right?

I see both of my sons take one step after another into their futures. It takes bravery, doesn’t it? For each of us to continue into an uncertain future, hoping for joy and goodness to be awaiting our arrival.

It hit me, as I reflected on a brand new year, that I may have been doing it all wrong for all these years. I have written about being raised to be perfect. Silly, unattainable standard but in my parents’ household, it was law. You know what that made me? Very good at very few things. Unless I had a natural talent for it, I wasn’t attempting it. Because rather than applause for my effort, I got heaps of criticism for my lack of prowess.

2019 seems a good year to continue to reverse that pattern. This year, I will aim for brave, not perfect. I will sing karaoke off-key, paint yet another awful still-life, perhaps run a very slow first 5K. Or not. The point is to go where the spirit moves me to go without worrying about how I look, how good the outcome is, what others think.

Brave in a quiet way. Not with bravado, arms waving and mouth going. Just doing my thing. In the moment—not too far ahead or lingering behind.

Funny, I have tried to raise my boys to value bravery versus perfection. I guess it’s time to truly absorb the lesson myself. Let’s put the lid on this one.

Happy 2019, friends. Wishing you a year filled with new adventures, victories, failures and all good things that make us grow. I will be here, in the moment and hopefully smiling, as I go. You too? Good. Keep me posted.



50 Comments Add yours

  1. srbottch says:

    Sounds like your ‘growing older’ gracefully and realizing what you can/can’t do or be. Our son is married with kids, going through some oft he same things that we did. I watch and think, ‘he will do fine’, then find myself thinking more about us and how we’ll do in the coming times. It’s the other end of the timeline and she is the focus, again.

    1. candidkay says:

      It certainly is a marathon, not a sprint. And it’s hard to not want them to learn on us instead of through their own (sometimes painful) experiences. But I guess that’s what we’re all here for, right? Thanks for sharing.

  2. candidkay says:

    I sure am trying:).

  3. Being brave, and doing one’s best at whatever we do, seems like a good motto, my friend. Your posts have such discernment. You’re a terrific mom and you’re a treasure. Happy new year to you and the young men.

    1. candidkay says:

      Happy New Year, Cynthia! Thanks for starting mine with such kind words. I try. And truly, I feel the same about you. Just glad to know you’re out there in the world doing your thing.

  4. Happy New Year! Time for me to be brave 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      Happy New Year, Julie! We’ll be brave on opposite sides of the world:). That means we have at least half the globe covered:).

  5. Karen Lang says:

    Brave and Beautiful. I only ever see you that way! 🙂

  6. George says:

    Being perfect is so overrated. Bravery, now that”s something special. Have a blessed and healthy new year, Kay,..:) You and your family.

    1. candidkay says:

      I agree, George! And I say that having just completed a dance class for the first time in decades😉. Happy New Year to you and yours!

  7. Roy McCarthy says:

    Couldn’t agree more – accentuate each success, acknowledge the weaknesses but work on them instead of letting them define you. Best wishes to you and the boys for 2019 Kristine.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Roy. And Happy New Year to you and yours! Wishing you many blessings in 2019.

  8. Holly Fister says:

    It’s tough choosing the brave option, but it’s a healthy one! I’m striving to do that too.

    1. candidkay says:

      Good! We’ll keep each other honest, shall we? 👍🏻

      1. Holly Fister says:

        Agreed! My husband just gave me a new shirt that says Faith Over Fear. My new motto!

      2. candidkay says:

        Aw, now that’s a good husband!

  9. Sidstark says:

    Came here through Cristian mihai stayed for awesomeness

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! And welcome. Come on in. The water is fine🙂. I appreciate the kind words.

  10. Happy New Year! Wishing you a joyful and brave 2019. 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks, Jackie! Happy New Year! Let’s rock this year, yes?

  11. Cristian Mihai says:

    Reblogged this on Cristian Mihai.

    1. candidkay says:

      Happy New Year to you! Wishing you many blessings in 2019.

  12. ‘Be content in the moment but don’t look too far ahead’, the older I get the more I appreciate looking tooo far into the future is a BIG mistake!!

    1. candidkay says:

      Yep. The moment is all we have, right?

  13. Elaine says:

    I love this! Happy, happy brave new year to you!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! Happy New Year! Wishing you many blessings in 2019!

  14. I look at my new-born grandson and think “you are perfect”. I hope he also grows to be brave and seize the world and all it offers with both hands, without the need to be “perfect” in meeting the expectations of others. I also know I have grown old enough to be a grandmother – how did that happen!? – and learned lots of lessons along he way. Another lovely, thoughtful post from you to kick off 2019. I wish you and your boys all good things – and many adventures!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Lee! That grandson of yours is perfect. He is simply adorable. And I am sure with a grandmother like you, he will grow to know and love himself, rather than feeling he has to fit into the world’s narrow definition of perfection.

  15. BGCT2VA says:

    Kay, Being “perfect” is merely doing our best. Nothing more,nor less.
    Trusting in Something other than ourselves helps a lot.
    Wishing you a very happy and fulfilling New Year.

    1. candidkay says:

      Wishing you the same! And trusting in a Higher Power sure does help me:).

  16. mydangblog says:

    Being brave is hard, she said, as she packed up her son’s room–after 3 years at university, it is very clear that he won’t be returning to us for more than just a weekend here or there, and I need somewhere to put my things when I move back home permanently to start the great daily commute to work. I think my heart is breaking a little more with each box I put into storage. Anyway, all the best to your boy as he starts his new journey, and Happy New Year to you, my friend!

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh man. Not easy. I understand. My son’s school is Year-round, without the traditional summer break. So this feels like it could be the beginning of him really venturing on his own. We will see. I guess this means that we have done our jobs well, right? When they launch? But it also ushers in a time of life for parents that feels like it is somehow the beginning of the end. I don’t mean to sound morbid. It’s just that it feels odd to be at this stage of life when I still feel so very young inside :-). I hope you are able to embrace the change and not be too sad.

      1. mydangblog says:

        Thanks for this and for listening. I keep thinking I should be happy that he’s able to go off into the big world with confidence but it feels like an important time in my life is just over. Anyway, he’s happy and that’s the main thing😊

      2. candidkay says:

        It’s life, right? The blessing is in the good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow. I totally get it!

  17. Dale says:

    Being brave and vulnerable opens us up to the world we are living in. Brilliant post, as per, Ms Kristine!

    I wish for you a dare-filled, not-perfect-but-perfect-for-you 2019!

    Lotsa love,

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, the right words from you, as always, Dale:). Sending you a huge hug and many wishes for a shower of blessings in 2019!

      1. Dale says:

        On occasion, they do seem to come out at the right time… then again, they were inspired by your fabulous write, so…. kudos to us!
        And Thank you! xo

  18. I can relate to so much of what you wrote. It’s time for me to be brave and not perfect too. To risk, to fall, to keep on or not. To experiment. Thanks for sharing your heart and wisdom. To a braver, kinder year.

    1. candidkay says:

      Here’s to a braver, kinder year. I’ll second that! Happy New Year . . .

  19. Shelly says:

    Your writing is such a nice gift to have on the start to this New Year. As my 2 seniors are in the throws of figuring out what their next step in life is, this piece
    is so comforting to me.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Shelly! What a nice thing to say. I know your seniors will be phenomenal grownups because of who you are. Happy New Year to you and yours . . .

  20. Su Leslie says:

    I think our parents must have gone to the same parenting school!
    Honestly though, I love this post and although I don’t do resolutions or new-year-new-slate stuff, I’m with you on this one.
    Happy Brave New Year

    1. candidkay says:

      Happy Brave New Year, my Kiwi warrior friend! Wishing you only good things in 2019 . . .

  21. Oh, how I love this! Being brave. I can relate to sticking to things I was good at. Here’s to new adventures in 2019.

    1. candidkay says:

      Yes! Here’s to wonderful new adventures ahead . . .

  22. Happy New Year to you too! Hope 2019 is good to you. 😊

    1. candidkay says:

      Happy New Year to you too! Blessings to come . . .

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