I just finished reading the short text by Anna Quindlen entitled Being Perfect. It was a random selection at the library today. It was not my intent to get away from the new arrivals display. Lately the fiction featured there has provided tons of guiltless excuses to avoid chores.
Those chores don’t go away. Since I am the only resident in my home, no one else will take up the slack and complete them. They remain undone, and highlight my stalled efforts to check them off my list. And that list is figuratively speaking. I don’t actually have one.
Chores started or planned have been stymied by a hazardous trap – perfection. Conversations lately with family and friends have traipsed all around it. So, it being in my mind in my present, the short skinny book with that title caught my eye as I wandered around the library. It was a quick read, providing fuel for thought, and thought is the impetus of change.
It just may be the tipping point in tripping the trap that has held me captive since being transferred to a school for the gifted in grade 5. I am thinking that I can move beyond the procrastination tendency that pops up when it seems I might not be able to complete a task to perfection. Avoidance is easier sometimes when one can’t decide the perfect direction to go or the perfect choice to make.
Who really cares if the kitchen is not perfectly organized in an efficient, elegant way as long as stuff is clean and put away, and the surfaces are clean and clear enough to allow me to use the kitchen as intended?
The books stashed here and there, stuffed under and above, need to be on shelves, even if those shelves don’t match each room’s intended decor. Books need to have homes so I can easily find them and continue to enjoy them. There are many that I own that I haven’t read yet, but who knows where they are?
That’s an issue with my clothes, too. It is such fun getting ready for the day when what I want to wear is easy to find and not in need of laundering or ironing. I have been beating myself up over the growing mounds but beating myself up more for not knowing how to organize it all. Who cares? I don’t have to share one single inch of closet space with another soul, so hanging and folding and storing in any of the closets or dressers would work.
With dishes done and counters cleared, books shelved and wardrobe out of sight, I wouldn’t need to forever cringe at the thought of someone dropping by. Cabinets can always be reorganized, shelves can be moved, clothing eventually sorted by season or color. Just as furniture can always be rearranged, none of my chores have one perfect completion. They just need to be finished.
It ‘s quite a far out thought, but if I could jump over the perfection trap and delve into the necessary, I might even enjoy discovering newfangled ways to organize my stuff and a sense of style might emerge.
Quindlen included this quote by George Eliot in her conclusion: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
I’m counting on that being so.