I love travelling but not the travel part. The point is Point A or Point B, not the effort it takes to get the distance between the two. When someone gleefully declares “ROAD TRIIIIIP!” a small place in my gut curls up as small as possible, as if I can shrink away from the idea of a vacation (how could it even be called that?!) composed of distance without destination.
Give me beaches.
Give me ruins.
Give me museums.
Give me a place. A destination. Anywhere.
I’m not picky, I swear. I’d even take Wall, South Dakota.
I need a goal, a point B. Anything else makes me nervous.
The journey makes me nervous.
Perfect. I thought it meant being as good as one can possibly be. Trying as hard as you can to be without flaw, the most good, the best. Perfection is something to be attempted, it should be the goal in every area of my life. Anything less is not good enough.
In Latin, Perfectus. If only it was useful for casting spells.
I’ll take 3, thank you Harry.
Perfectus perfectus perfectus. All my wishes rolled into one word.
If I can be the perfect daughter then…
If I can score the perfect score then…
If I can be the perfect nurse then…
If I could be the perfect wife then…
If I was the perfect mom then…
If things would be perfect then…
As I have been wrestling with perfection, I realize that’s my main issue, and that’s why I like destinations. Reaching a destination gives me a feeling of achievement, accomplishment and security, in the way I imagine perfection as my personal end goal. I like destinations because I can arrive- not only that, I can plan when where and how to arrive. Perfect.
That’s what I thought perfection meant. To arrive. To carefully analyze, deconstruct, and rebuild all the flawed or weak aspects of me. Carefully craft a plan to fix all the broken parts a fortify the weak and exercise the strong and THEN I will arrive at perfection.
But perfection is so infinitely elusive that it either prevents us from starting or frustrates us in the pursuit. A cruel god, perfection always holds out, always taunts, always keeps just out of reach. It’s hunger for energy, time, focus, and devotion never ends and the satisfaction it promises is fleeting at best. Voltaire said “Perfection is the enemy of the good.” Even as I write this I am having this emotional struggle as I compare my simple blog post with the likes of the Brontë sisters. (That’s a logical and super helpful comparison, right?!) It doesn’t even compare, is so far below their level of perfection, so why even continue? Do you ever do this to yourself? Maybe not in writing (or maybe so!) but in other areas of your life? How about how you perform at work, or maybe compared to another parent? This happens to me All. The. Time. More accurately, I do this to myself, tell myself this story, over and over and over again.
What if perfection is in the journey, not the destination?
What if the living out of life, learning to fully, completely, thoroughly live out my life, rather than chasing a perfect ideal?
Perfectus. The Latin word combines the concept of “through or complete” and “to do.” So even though perfection is often used to communicate “flawlessness” or “the absolute best” it actually means “doing completely”, or “getting all the way through.”
My kids are perfectus. (Doesn’t every parent think that? haha!) If the goal is living thoroughly and completely, to keep doing, keep going, then they are Perfectus. It doesn’t matter how slow, or if there are twists and turns, or if there are ups and downs. When they fell it wasn’t a failure, it was part of the very normal and healthy process of child development. What if I could grasp that perfection is worked out through our successes and our failures in every area of my life?
I think I need to get close and comfortable with road trips. What about you? Let’s stop rushing to our next destination. Let’s pick a direction and explore while we go that way. There is time to stop when we see an interesting trail that might lead to something beautiful. Even if the trail is simply a funny little thought that runs through your mind. Or maybe it’s the colors nature uses to remind us that no matter the season, beginning, growing, flourishing, or dying, each as a beauty unique to itself.
Let’s make space to be creative, to wonder, to be bored for a minute or two. We don’t have to have all the lists made and boxes checked to start. Don’t let “not being perfect” stop you from even starting. If perfection wasn’t an issue, what would you start?
For me, I can finish this post. I can keep writing even when I’m almost finished and call my friend to tell her I feel like it is all trash, just complete trash. And she tells me it’s probably not all trash even when it feels like it’s all trash. So instead of looking at this as an imperfect destination, I will chalk it up as a stop on the journey and trust that hidden in the trash is something beautiful and interesting.
Thanks for spending this time with me,