Reality TV producers take heart, my marriage is proof opposites attract
I constantly set goals, very few of which I achieve. I meditate regularly, journal my way through dramatic internal dialogue, write inspirational quotes on my office whiteboard – and not just Insta memes, but wise words by very wise people. Like Oprah. And here’s a cracker, I’ve just started keeping a habit tracker.
What’s that, you ask? Or to quote my husband, what madness now? It’s a calendar where you, well, track your habits, obviously. But the habits you wish to establish. So I have on it things like exercising, having an alcohol-free day, avoiding sugar – all the things I know make me, to be frank, less of an arsehole to live with, and keep me on my path. The theory is you reward yourself with a big tick every time you achieve a goal, which motivates you to keep going. It works for me, especially as I use pretty coloured pencils (I’m a sucker for a 36-pack of Derwents).
By contrast, this is my husband. He does not spend one minute any day thinking about who he is or what behaviours would make him a better version of that. He eats whatever he likes, with zero food guilt. He only goes to the gym when he feels like it, which is about twice a year. He never meditates and he doesn’t own a diary.
I asked him once, as he was sitting on the couch eating Doritos and watching zombies on Netflix, what his Purpose is? And he said, “This.” I admit, I’m both supportive and deeply envious of him. He’s probably way happier than I’ll ever be. He is about as self-questioning as a domestic cat and, consequently, as content as one.
Because, while my path to fulfilment is paved with stones as self-compassion, self-acceptance and the unwavering belief that imperfection is beautiful, also inherent in my journey is a constant discontent. If you’re prone to obsessive thinking like I am, self-improvement can be a thinly disguised excuse for self-loathing.
Especially if you’re easily influenced by people who aren’t qualified to tell you a damn thing about your life – I’m looking at you, Marie Kondo.
I know that my ongoing intention toward my Purpose is right for me, but I also think there’s something to be learnt from my oblivious husband, adorable in his easygoing good humour (the key to our decades-long marriage, reality TV programmers should note). It’s this: to feel successful, I’m just going to lower my standards. Oh, and every now and then I’ll sit next to my bloke on the couch doing nothing. I must put that in my habit tracker.
This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale May 19.