Either I can be here, fully here, my imperfect, messy, tired but wholly present self, or I can miss it – this moment, this conversation, this time around the table, whatever it is – because I’m trying, and failing, to be perfect, keep the house perfect, make the meal perfect, ensure the gift is perfect. But this season I’m not trying for perfect. I’m just trying to show up, every time, with honesty and attentiveness. – Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine
We often create expectations of what we want something to be, and then feel anxious or disappointed when life doesn’t live up to those expectations. But it’s those unexpected, imperfect moments that can be perfect in their own way. I’m a perpetual planner, and I love to plan out and organize parties, trips, schedules, you name it. And plans can be good because they keep us on track and set the foundation, but something will always go a little unexpected, different from what you had created in your mind. The food might not turn out like you hoped, someone extra might tagalong or someone might drop out, there won’t be enough time to fit something in or someone will have a different idea and you have to compromise… there are a million things that could throw off that ‘perfect’ picture you had in your mind, but what’s more important? Being perfect, or being present?
The best memories aren’t usually when everything goes according to plan, but when things go off the map. When you can make the best of a situation and go with the flow, being truly present in the moment rather than rushing around trying to fit into a perfect plan, that is when you can find a different kind of perfect.
Game Plan: Present over perfect. Think about your experiences with other people… have you ever been with someone who is so busy trying to make sure everything is perfect that you feel like you’re missing out on their company, their honesty, their attentiveness? When we see ourselves in other people, we realize that just as we don’t care about whether that person is perfect, most others don’t care about perfection in us. What’s really important is just being present in the moment.