I used to think that the only way that I would succeed in life was if I looked and acted perfect.
Straightened bleached hair, fake tan, high waisted hipster clothes.
(I was confused – stuck between the trends of different groups!)
I scampered around the place like a chameleon, trying to mould my personality and clothes to fit the situation I found myself in.
Then the best thing ever happened. First, I went and did a snowboarding season in Switzerland.
Then a few years later I went and lived on a superyacht for two years.
And what happened in both of those experiences really surprised me.
When you do a season or work on a yacht, you’re constantly surrounded by the same people, day in day out. You eat, sleep and work and party together. You stress together, you get drunk together, you celebrate together, you iron beds together, you whinge about the billionaire Russian together, you wake-board together.
You are un-perfect together.
It was during this time, especially on the yacht, that my perfect facade started to slide off me – I couldn’t maintain it around the 25 people I lived on the yacht with, there was no where to hide my true self. I didn’t exactly know who my true self was anymore, so I had to experiment with a few different identities.
I was the matey, sweary, laid back kiwi chick.
I was the super hardworking, detail oriented chick who never stepped out of line or slacked off. I was the helpful chick, I was the unhelpful chick. I was the snappy chick who was fed up of vacuuming walls and ironing beds. I was the positive chick who danced around being a dick while ironing pillow slips. I was the drunk chick who danced all night and then had to vacuum on my knees the next day because I was so hungover. I was the healthy eating chick who went for runs on the dock; the unhealthy chick who had coffee and peanut M&Ms at every opportunity.
And no matter what I did, the people I worked with accepted me for who I was. Sure, they probably didn’t like the snappy, fiery me when she came out so much. But it didn’t make them hate me. For possibly the first time ever, I was completely imperfect, all over the place, and not in control.
And I made closer friendships than I’ve ever made before.
And I found me.
Or rather, I finally realised that I could stop trying so hard to be the perfect person and just be myself. I was shocked that even when i was the messy version of me, people still accepted me. In fact they seemed to love me more than anyone had ever loved the ‘perfect’ Andrea.
It was quite the revelation.
So, Bloody Good Lifers, I recommend you all go and work on a superyacht.
Just jokes, it’s bloody hard work, there are easier ways to find yourself than repetitively cleaning out cupboards with a toothpick and cotton bud.
Do you remember when everyone at school used to say “just jokes” after everything they said. So annoying. I thought I’d bring it back so we could reminisce.
What I actually recommend is that you experiment with being a different person than the one you’ve crafted thus far. Just wake up one day and be the friendly person. Or be the grumpy person. Be the caring person if you’re not normally. Or be a bit selfish for once if you’re not. Look at who you’ve been for your whole life, and actively choose to be someone else. Just as a trial. Maybe be a different person every day of the week.
Surprise the people in your life. Experiment with yourself.
Your personality is not set.
This invisible prison of perfection that we all end up living in is completely self-created.
The prison walls are made up of what-you-think-that-others-will-think about you.
When you realise that the people who matter will love you no matter who you are, you’ll realise that the prison walls are just a load of crap.
You can step out of them whenever you choose.
That’s how you create a Bloody Good Life.