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My Perfectly Imperfect Handstand


“The goal is progress, not perfection.” — Kathy Freston

I was actually a little disappointed when I first saw this handstand photo. In my mind, it was a straight up and down line — shoulders, body, and toes nicely stacked. The reality — a big banana back. I sighed inwardly when I realized my handstand isn’t any straighter now than it was two years ago. Not that I expected it to be flawless, but I kinda thought that after years of practice, my handstand would be a teensy bit closer…to perfection.

Almost immediately, though, I stopped those thoughts. This crooked little handstand on the beach was a big deal for other reasons — namely progress. The last time I tried to handstand on the beach, I was a nervous wreck knowing there were people who might be watching, I had to use the lid of a pizza box under my hands for support, and it took at least ten tries to finally get my legs up. This time, I didn’t really care if the people around me were observing, I didn’t use a prop, and I kicked up on the first attempt! That, my friends, is called progress, and that is what’s important!

Never mind the fact that I’m 60 years old and taught myself how to handstand in my 50s. Yet I still have to remind myself how far I’ve come. Most times, I can hold my handstand for at least 30 seconds. I can do them on the beach, in the snow, mud, or on concrete. I’m even able to kick up in front of people without having a panic attack. After years of practice, I have truly progressed and accomplished major milestones for this handstanding grandma!

I may never tuck or press or do it one handed, and banana back my forever be my shape, but I can’t allow myself to get caught up in thinking my handstand needs to be perfect. Do I want it to be straighter? Sure. Do I beat myself up over it? No. When I began this journey, I never sought to do a perfect handstand (I wasn’t even aware that linear mattered) — I just wanted to do a handstand. It took me years to achieve what I consider to be a pretty amazing feat, and the pure happiness and joy I experience very time I do it completely overshadows any imperfections.

Do what you love and love what you do. Strive for progress and that will make everything perfect!

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