Giving Up on Being Perfect

folding sheetsToday is Thursday, September 26, 2013.

I don’t think I have ever thought that I could be perfect, but I generally strive to do things “the right way,” if possible.  I’ve always had trouble folding fitted sheets, but for some reason I have more trouble now than I used to with that.  Maybe it’s because the fitted sheets these days have deeper “pockets” or maybe it’s because they have elastic all around, and not just at the corners, but for whatever reason, they are next to impossible to fold.  Mine end up looking like the sheet on the right in the photo, and I console myself that the sheet won’t remain folded for long, anyway – it will go right back on the bed once it is out of the dryer.  Folding sheets neatly for the short trip from the laundry room to my apartment seems almost a waste of valuable time.

I admit that it’s more pleasant to live in an orderly space than in chaos, but I do occasionally wonder what people who spend hours and hours each day keeping their homes neat and tidy think about that at the end of their lives.  Was all that housework worth it?  Perhaps in the sense of gaining or honing self-discipline, yes, it was probably worth it, but in the sense of spending time doing housework when you could have been doing other things, maybe not.  To each his own.  At the end of my life, my home may not be in very good shape, but at least I won’t have wasted any more time than necessary on mundane things.

I have this memory of my 15-year-old self, standing in front of the bathroom mirror putting on mascara.  I’ve never been very good at that.  My sister knows how to put it on carefully without getting any of it on her face, but not me – because at 15, I had this experience of stepping back from what I was doing.  I guess it was myself as Soul breaking into my normal ego-consciousness.  I remember realizing that the days of my life were finite, and asking myself whether I really wanted to spend hours of my life putting on mascara.  My answer was a very firm “no.”  So I learned to put on the inky stuff as fast as possible, and then just take a cotton-tipped swab dipped in Vaseline and wipe the excess off my eyes and face.  You may laugh, but it gets the job done, and nobody can tell the difference. 

It’s never really been an option to be perfect, but for some reason, I’ve had the usual bouts of guilt feelings over not doing everything just so, like it’s supposed to be done.  I feel guilty less and less these days, but the feeling still strikes once in a while, and I have to talk myself out of it.  Who sets these “perfect” standards, anyway?  Not Martha Stewart: she went to jail, so we know she’s not perfect.

What about you?  How have you adjusted to the idea of not being perfect?  Do you feel you have sold out, or are you comfortable doing what you can and not feeling guilty about doing more?  🙂



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