‘Life is short. Play hard.’ – Reebok slogan. When I was younger, I adjusted this to Life is short. Be happy.
Now there’s a fickle thing. Figuring out happiness. Is it making a bajillion dollars, becoming a NYT bestseller, marrying the lady of your dreams? Is it living the bohemian lifestyle with not a worry in the world beyond what to use for toilet paper?
Weeds will follow you wherever you end up. Some seemingly inconsequential (e.g., laundry, apple procurement), others seemingly indestructible (e.g., MS). The more you concentrate on them, the more they grow. The more they grow, the more you concentrate on them. The pursuit of the weedless dream will only end in more weeds. ‘They’re everywhere, man’ (said Bill Paxton, Aliens-style).
Thus, as Tara alluded to in her wonderful post, the pursuit of perfection must be overrated. Right?
Call me devil’s advocate or call me a middle child, but my answer is no. In fact, I would argue that Tara is well on the way to perfection herself (and I envy her for it).
Now, what is perfect? There’s the rub. Let’s go back to our weed-filled gardens. You’ve got your roses in yours, which I think smell kinda rank and I’ve got my dandelions that you lump in with my weeds. My garden’s an eyesore to you and yours reeks like donkey ass to me. Whatever. I do not define your garden, nor do you define mine. I will not let your interpretation of beauty sully my efforts to cultivate my view of it, nor should you allow mine to interfere with yours. Perfect is in the heart of the perfecter (okay, doesn’t quite work, but screw it, this is my weedy garden, complete with bad metaphors and pg-13 words).
Even without all that outside noise of life hammering away at you, it’s hard to cultivate your garden just so. Damn hard. No pain, no gain, right? Well, there’s gonna be lots of pain. In the game of life, there is no greater risk-reward gamble than the pursuit of perfection. Have no doubt, your weeds will multiply and disseminate. A veritable labyrinth will form, so thick you might not be able to see anything else.
Our private garden of eventual perfection could become an endless jungle of omnipresent misery. This is the peril of the pursuit. Doubt and fear and stagnation. Dreams of better yesterdays and brighter tomorrows fade until even your favorite flowers remind you of those horrid weeds.
But this is your garden. Those weeds are yours. A few might go away. Most won’t. New ones will grow for sure. They are all part of you. Scars, blemishes, foibles, imperfections, weaknesses, weeds. Whatever you want to name/condemn them, they are all part of you.
They are part of the perfect you.
Pursue the most perfect you. Embrace the weeds.