Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Perfection is a road

"When I have a book published, my life will be perfect."

"When I have my degree, my life will be perfect."

"When I get a new job..." You get the idea.

I'm currently working on a book that deals with the concept of perfection- personally and culturally. What makes something or someone perfect? Can we all agree on its definition? Obviously not. Your idea of perfection may be vastly different from mine. My own image of perfection is at odds with itself: Things I once thought would make my life perfect and me supremely happy are no longer applicable to my life.

Well, sure, Leigh, those things change because YOU change. Your subjective opinion changes as you acquire more experience in life and understand what's really important.

True, but even among objective notions of perfection, there are shifts in perception. An example: Nadia Comaneci received perfect 10s in the 1977 Olympics but if an Olympian were to perform her routines now, she might only get a 7 or 8. The same holds true for ice skating and other sports that are supposed to be objectively scored. What was once an unusual or difficult move that warranted a high score, like a triple axel or a backflip on the balance beam, has now become commonplace.

It makes no sense to be disappointed that things in your life are not perfect. Or even that you yourself are not perfect. That's impossible. Perfection evolves. To say you strive for perfection means only that you work to the best of your ability at that time in your life. You can never achieve it because it is always changing.

And too, don't let the fear of failing to be perfect stop you from attempting things. If you sit down to write a book or enroll in a dance class, don't expect to be perfect from the first word or step. A writer or dancer has a chance to learn new things every day and new ways to fail to be perfect!