The Cut: Do You Believe You Need to Be Perfect?

By Reshma Saujani for The Cut

Do You Believe You Need to Be Perfect?

“I didn’t know until I was in my late 20s that I had choices in life,” Ruth told me. She and I met while sitting side by side at a nail salon and struck up one of those unusually intimate conversations the way one sometimes randomly does with a complete stranger. Ruth got the message when she was young that an appropriate path for her was to become a teacher, get married, have kids, and then stay home to raise them. It didn’t even dawn on her that she had other options — that is, until she was 28 and a friend of hers joined the Peace Corps and moved to South America. “All of a sudden I thought, wait a minute … you mean I can do that?!” At age 62, Ruth says she sometimes wonders what turns her life might have taken if she’d looked within and asked herself what she really wanted.