I spent a sliver of today reading Anna Quindlen’s Being Perfect in a rocking recliner while listening to the rain. The book appeared to me one day while I was hunting down customer requests at work. It practically jumped out at me. I’ve looked at it, slim little piece that it is, for weeks, but I hadn’t cracked it open yet. Today when I woke up from a rare and precious nap before Paolo did, I started to clean up and sort mail. While cleaning, I rediscovered this book. I stopped all my straightening (more striving for perfection) and began to read while it rained. The further I read, the more I realized the fortunate timing. Two of my friends and I have just started reading The Happiness Project together. Though we live quite far apart from each other we will discuss the book and our own project during three-way calls and emails. Being Perfect got me thinking that not striving for perfection should definitely be part of my own Happiness Project.
I don’t think I fit the model of one striving for perfection. I have never had goals like climbing Mt Everest, becoming CEO by age 35, or writing the great american novel. But I have always worked to be perfect in everything I do. The small things. I showed up early for everything (before child), I got good grades, I studied hard, I tried very hard to look and act like I was supposed to. In short, I tried very hard to be Elizabeth Wakefield in the Sweet Valley High books. And I was worried all the time.Not very fun or happy.
35 years into life and I’m finally realizing that trying to be perfect does not make me happy (and is impossible to achieve). In the interest of being happy without being perfect, I’ll stop agonizing over the perfect ending and wrap this up abruptly. The End.