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Perfection is Highly Overrated

Perfection

Perfection is Highly Overrated

Full disclosure… My natural inclination is not toward perfection.  I prefer to make things work, rather than fix them.  I had a VW bug that needed a new starter (1970’s) and rather than spend the money to get it fixed, I always parked on a hill (easy in Austin, TX) so I could push it and pop the clutch to get it started (that worked well until I moved to Lubbock, TX, where there are no hills).

I get my face and hair to the point that I am satisfied and then I don’t look in a mirror for the rest of the day.  I have written a weekly newspaper column and this blog and others, but could not bear the tedium of trying to write good poetry.  I have no problem creatively substituting chicken for shrimp or cauliflower for potatoes or flour for cornstarch rather than making another trip to the store. I don’t regularly check the air in my tires or the balance in my checkbook or get birthday cards mailed on time.

Perfection is Overrated

I do have an appreciation for doing things well and right and correctly, though.  In truth, I am a rules follower (if I have deemed the rules worthy of being followed).  Grammar, driving, attendance, polite behavior, reading a book from the front to the back, putting your dirty dishes in the dishwasher, doing that you say you will do…all of those examples and others like them should definitely be done following the rules.

There are times when doing things close to perfect is important.  Trying your hand at carpentry?  You should definitely measure twice, cut once.  Knitting an afghan?  It makes a difference if you check the dye lot on every skein of yarn.  Going on an overseas trip?  Checking the expiration date of your passport is prudent.  Heading for a baseball game at Wrigley Field?  Checking the weather can prevent being way too cold on a blustery day in August.

I am all for doing things well…
striving for perfection, however, is an entirely different thing.

The pursuit of perfection on an everyday basis wastes time, prevents communication, halts progress, frustrates goals, annoys others, gives false impressions, and generally keeps progress from happening.  Finding the reality of “perfect enough” saves a lot of misspent energy and time.

 

 

 

 

Straight and Sturdy and Strong

sturdy and strong

My husband and I happened to be in a house recently that was next door to one we lived in long ago.  It brought back a lot of memories and we smiled a lot while remembering our lives and our family at that place, that stage of our journey.

We remembered a lot of work there, too.

We are always remodeling, upgrading, adding to homes, it seems.  Once, I counted 17 different addresses we’ve had in our 43+ years of marriage and in each, we left our mark of added rooms, new roofs, refinished floors, etc., etc.

At this particular past address, Dave noticed the fence he had built 30 years ago. He designed it and erected it by hand with his carpenter/friend. Six feet tall, made of wood, handsome lattice at the top, it is still straight and sturdy and strong.

No warping.

No sagging.

No leaning.

I think back to my life there in that home and realize that home is where I started building my strong life, digging a deep foundation for where I am now…making my BEST ThirdThird.

We were living there when I learned about wiring and started studying and sharing the life-changing information that comes from understanding self and others in terms of DiSC behavior styles.

It was there that I decided I would no longer be insecure.

There I learned there were certain volunteer efforts that I should say no to because I wasn’t all that good at them and others could do them better.

In that home, I learned to be grateful and to appreciate the moment.

Now, I stand straight and sturdy and strong….just like the fence Dave built.

Weathered a bit.

Needing a fresh coat of paint occasionally.

Showing age if you look closely.

But, standing straight and sturdy and strong.

With gratefulness and purpose.

 

 

 
photo credit: Nanagyei Droplets – HFF via photopin (license)

Fit and Healthy

fit and healthy

Staying fit and healthy in my ThirdThird is an everyday choice.

Get out and move daily.
Consider my diet.
Drink lots of water.
AND, it is not really so hard once it became a habit.

Long ago, I decided that I would not add weight as I age, forming one of my life mantras, It’s easier to keep it off than take it off.  I saw others around me adding a pound or two or five every year, and realized it would sneak up on me if I didn’t consciously take control.

So, I determined to keep it off.

With clear motivation (keep it off), it’s simple. Really. Even though, the older I get the more intentional I must be.

When my kids were all at home, there were things we simply did not have in our home.  Soda. Chips. Store-bought cookies or cakes. Partly, it was an economic decision.  Feeding a family of 7 required some thriftiness and those extras can be expensive.

Partly, it was a life lesson that things you don’t have all the time are more special.  Pop or soda was more fun if it was an occasional treat.  Having store-bought cake at a friend’s birthday party added to the fun.

Partly, it was a lesson in nutrition.  One of the big ideas in Younger Next Year is “Don’t eat crap.”  Garbage in, garbage out…. except for the extra weight and fat that stays.

Staying fit and healthy is a choice.

I was brought up in a fairly typical middle class family in the 50’s and 60’s surviving on Betty Crocker and Post Toasties and Hostess.  So, it was a conscious decision to become a scratch-baker and to learn about nutrition and the role diet plays in our overall health.  It made sense to me, even in the 70’s, that less sugar was better and that enjoying pure foods in moderation was better than eating chemicals and saturated fats by the forkful.

Now, my kids are out of the house and I could have those things around if I wanted to with fewer mouths to feed and no one I am consciously setting an example for.  Truth is, I don’t want them. They aren’t even tempting.  I don’t like the way they make me feel.

In Thinner This Year, by Chris Crowley and Jen Sacheck, they point out that in the  US, for most people, 35% of the total calorie intake comes from added sugars and solid fat.

I’m pretty sure that is shocking to most of us.

You can train your brain to only want food that is good for you.  Choose to cut out one bad-habit food that you know you should not be eating… in fact, that you feel a little guilty about eating. Stop eating it for 3 days and see how you feel.

I would wager that you will find that you don’t want it after a few days.  And, if you are guilt free, the benefits will be more than avoiding a few empty calories.  Emotionally, you’ll be pleased with yourself and that just might result in more energy and the inspiration to be better in other ways.

 

 
photo credit: Bathroom Scale-001 via photopin (license)