The Unbolused Cookie

Embracing both the planned and the unplanned.

The Lie of Perfection

Gabrielle Sharkey Oldfield

The Lie of Perfection
Saturday, September 12, 2015

As I look back on my life, I realize there are SO many times the lie of perfection held me back.  Is there ever really the perfect circumstance or timing?  Well, maybe sometimes it does work that way, but for me at least, that is more the exception and not the rule.

Do any of these sound like you?

Here are just a few of the lies I have dealt with:

*I can't eat healthier now because I don't have the time and I don't have the money.  

*I won't start working out right now because I can't afford a gym and I'm tired at the end of the day.  

*I can't clean the house because I don't have time to move all the furniture and vacuum underneath it, or clean all the baseboards, or vacuum all the ceiling corners for spider webs, or bleach every inch of the bathroom.

*What is the point of trying to write, take photos, sketch, paint, sculpt, run, hike, kayak, and on and on and on, if the conditions are not perfect, I don't have the perfect equipment, or I don't have the training or talent to do these things?

But really, I think the truth is more like this:

*If you chose to make just one healthier choice in your week (like cutting back to one soda a day or saving chips for a weekend treat only) you would see a difference.  It may take longer, but it WOULD make a difference.  Then, I suspect, much like my experience, once you start seeing those differences, you become creative in how to continue that trend.  For instance, I can't afford, at the moment, to buy everything organic, but I can buy some organic items, so I do.  Also, I find my weight is so much easier to maintain when I cut eating out to just once or twice a week.  This means I have to be better at having good food available at home, but the better I feel, the more incentive I have to do just that.

*You don't need a gym to start working out, you just need a pair of shoes and a walk around the block.  Seriously, don't over complicate this part of your life.  Anytime you aren't standing still--you are moving--and that means you are doing something good for your body.  It is totally fine to start small, but you have to start.

*How many of us begin cleaning with the thought that we are going to do every little thing we haven't done in the last year in one afternoon.  That doesn't work.  Trust me, trust me, trust me.  Often, I would end up with the house torn apart and not enough energy to finish what I'd started.  Things actually looked worse.  Put your perfection to the side and accept that sometimes "good enough" is actually good enough.  I've learned to be realistic in what can be done with the time I have available each day.  Breaking things up into smaller chunks allows me to feel like I have accomplished what I needed to and can actually walk away when I'm done.  I like to try to hit something once a month that is not on my normal rotation (like maybe cleaning drapes or vacuuming the couches) but if I miss it one month, I just commit to starting back up the following month.  I'm pretty sure none of my friends are going to show up in the middle of the night to call me on that one, so I feel entirely comfortable with this process.

*This last lie is especially important.  If you enjoy doing something, it does not matter if you have training or talent--unless of course you are trying to make a living at it, then I hate to say it, but both of those are important.   Otherwise, just enjoy it for what it is, something that maybe relaxes you, refreshes you, or makes you smile.  I love photography.  I think I have a decent eye, but I don't necessarily have the discipline to take the time to learn all the correct techniques or the money to purchase all the best equipment.  So I don't.  I have a nice camera, I take tons of photos, I delight in the ones that come out great and I delete the ones that don't.  Easy peasy.

So ultimately, what do we get when we can let go of this crazy lie of perfection?


"A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault."    --John Henry Newman