Sunday, October 19, 2008

Contemplating Perfection...

If someone stopped me on the street corner and asked me to describe my own personal “prefect scenario” I am not sure what I would say; let me give it a try: *Some “Me time” that doesn’t include Bob the Builder, diapers or homework? *A healthy portion of amazingly delicious desserts that will not show themselves on my scale the next day? *A shirt that lasts all day with not an ounce of someone else’s bodily fluid sprayed, spit or flung on it? *A day where I do not have to utter the words, “Can you please STOP it?!” to each of the children, the dog and my husband? *One solid, straight-through-till-morning, back-pain-free sleep? *A hammock, my favorite magazine, a bit of chocolate, a drink with an umbrella and hours on end to enjoy it all. Oh, and the waiter to serve me, the maid to clean the stains from my shirts, the masseuse for my aching back and the Nanny to say, “Can you please stop it?” for me? That’s it. That’s what I would say! Michelle Kemper Brownlow has defined her vision of perfection, for today. It will change tomorrow. Isn’t that how it goes, though? We spend years of our lives striving for something- a bigger house, a better job, more money, an empty nest- only to find what we waited so long for doesn’t feel as good as we thought it would after all. When we find ourselves stuck in this rut of misconception, we need to sit down and contemplate perfection. My ‘perfect’ scenario sounds good and by golly it would feel good but it truly isn’t my idea of true perfection. It honestly changes everyday. Knowing that that is OK, is quite freeing. Society will tell us that fame, fortune and the perfect body ranks right up there on the “perfection” list but then I see poor souls like Lindsay Lohan, Michael Vick and Britney Spears as I scan the channels. If that’s what perfection looks like, keep it! I want no parts of it. The business world will tell you that dual salaries and a well-over six-figure income will fulfill your heart’s every desire. I look at the looming divorce rates of those who are fueled by the hunger for “more” and swiftly turn my back on the idea that any of them have found anything worth calling perfection. I read an article this week in Hallmark Magazine (thanks, Mom!) called “Letting Go of Perfect.” The gist of the article by Karen Houppert is to embrace your own perfection, not someone else’s idea of it and let that idea change from day to day. Today, my idea of true perfection may be spending an hour in a blanket-tussled bed that hasn’t been made for days with my husband and three children as they giggle listening to stories we have told a million times. After a busy day of church, home improvements and chasing the baby at a family reunion, my husband’s idea of perfection would most likely be similar to mine although he would prefer the bed neatly made with hospital corners. But sometimes close-enough-to-perfect is just as beautiful. In a world where even the food in a magazine has a stylist, we need a reality check every day. Sit down and make a list, I mean it – get out your paper...find a pen! Jot down everything in life that resembles perfection. My list goes something like this: · the sound of my children giggling even if it is at my expense · birds chirping in the morning before anyone but me is awake · a good cup of coffee · feeling how much someone loves me just by the way he looks at me · and my list goes on… By looking at life in the simple terms we identify on our list of “perfects” makes perfection so much easier to achieve. Imagine a week of perfect days. It’s up to you to change your idea of perfect and choose to live your life in perfection redefined. You get what you set your sights on. You only see what you look for. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinions; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” It’s your turn…contemplate your own idea of perfection.

PEACE OUT. PASS IT ON.

11 comments:

The Real Life Fairy Tale Princess said...

Fabulous post. I'll have to think about it. In the mean time, if you're into that kind of thing, read "The Art of Happiness" by the Dalai Lama. Same thought process. He basically says that while moment to moment happiness is easy to achieve, true happiness is a far greater idea that requires an appreciation for what we have rather than a desire for more.

Lucy Edson said...

Love your idea of perfection!! Sounds pretty good to me!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Loved the cute coloring page! :)

Diane B said...

Ummmm...question....what's the best way to 'forward' your blog site? I'm sort of a techno-lame-o. I would love to tell my friends about your blog and in a previous post you recommended forwarding it on.

PS Thanks for the printable pumpkin! It's adorable.

Amy said...

Oooh my very first comment to you. I have been reading your blog for awhile now and always want to comment to some of your great posts but usually I am paging through so quickly that I end up not doing it then. Well I thought enough is enough. I want you to know I love reading your blog! You are a hoot :) Thanks for this post I needed to hear this today and have spent some time in thought over it. Hoping to get to know you better over our blogs :)

noexcuses said...

Wonderful post! You nailed the point of how we chase perfection in so many areas of our lives, and, at great expense.

I like to think that perfection is a good day where there are a lot of smiles, hugs and feelings of being loved, topped off with the warm feeling one gets when he has given away a piece of himself.

Thanks for the reality check.

Ingrid said...

You got it Michelle. We delude ourselves in thinking that we'll be happier when 'that debt is paid off', or 'I lose this baby x4 weight', or 'when we can move into the bigger house'. Life just doesn't go like that. We have to learn to be content-in whatever situation we are.

Perfection-well, a perfect day might be too much to contemplate, but I know one very gratifying, 'all's right with the world' moment is when I catch my kids doing something really and truly thoughtful or good. You know what I mean-when they use their manners without being prompted, when they console their younger sibling, when they say "I'm sorry" because they really are. That can make a whole, rotten, unperfect day much better!!

Karla with a K said...

This is great MIchelle. And I want to share the "perfect" afternoon I had with my kindergardener last week. (I think you'll be able to relate...)

He's my youngest (of 4) and in a.m. kindergarden. I was in no hurry to get him in there full time. I've been behind on my sleep. And this particular afternoon, I was dog tired but had taken "screens" (tv and computer) away from him that morning for not getting ready for school himself. I regretted it as soon as it came out of my mouth.

But. I stuck to my guns. And when he came home, I said, "We are going to cuddle this afternoon. I will make your lunch, and, just today, you can eat it on the couch. We'll put on a blanket, and I'll read to you, then Mommy has to shut her eyes for a little while."

I think a little while ended up being on and off for 2 hours. He sat next to me. I read, then told him to play the games on the Firefly (anyone have that toy? Great alphabet letters and 3-letter word helper.)

My only interruptions were the dog needing to go in and out a few times. Then even she fell asleep. And a few times my son saying, "Mom! Mom! Mo-meeeee! How do you spell fly?"

Perfect. And those moments are so fleeting now.
Thanks for the reminder. And the excellent post.

Shellie said...

I think maybe now is pretty close to perfect. I'm past the just barely surviving stage, and already miss those days sometimes. I think, if I just had 7 sheet sets for my bed, one for every day of the week, then we could put a clean set on every night just before going to sleep, instead of having to sleep on "the beach" as we call it after sharing the bed with the kids and their crumbs earlier in the day.

Theresa said...

Can I borrow you post for tomorrow? It is just perfect...like you day.

Love T

Debbie Yost said...

Excellent post! I love your list of the perfect life. The grass is always greener. We need to stop and smell the flowers on our side of the fence sometimes. Thanks for the reminder,

Christina said...

I wish that night I was able to sign your petition, I even made a mental note to go back over there...then the night went way to fast and by the time I blinked everyone was packing up. Bless you for the things you do for those children. I have, however signed tonight and sent everyone in my address book the link and pray that they too will sign this petition. Keep strong in the work you do, you are an amazing woman!