On Being Perfect. With Perfection.

Today we are going to take a look at what perfection isn't.

Perfection is not running five miles a day, or ten miles a day, or even ten minutes a day on a treadmill.

Perfection is getting up and trying again when you miss your morning run, or when you didn't go quite as far as you planned, or as fast. It's getting up and trying again when all you can do is walk to the mailbox and back. Perfection is getting up and trying again.

Being perfect does does not mean doing everything on your to-do list without missing one little detail.

It means picking the most important things and at least getting those done. It means setting the list aside because your son REALLY needs to tell you about this cool thing he learned today about why he can cut a circle out of cardboard, then cut a hole in that to make a ring, and it can go just as far as a Frisbee can when he throws it. But most of all, being a perfect to-do-lister means going down your list at the end of the day and focusing mainly on the things you DID get done. 

Perfection is not running around like a crazy-pants-headless-chicken trying to bake bread for every sick person in your neighborhood, and helping every new person move in, and volunteering for every committee available, or every PTA-program in existence.

Perfection means helping where you can, realistically, without making yourself crazy, so you can still be pleasant and calm, and present for those who need you. Including yourself. (Read: it's okay to evaluate and say no once in a while. i.e., I am a terrible room mother. I don't volunteer for it. I am a great gopher. I volunteer for that. But not if I am already fully-gophered.)

A perfect woman does not kill herself trying to be perfect. Neither does a perfect man.

Perfect people are those who realize (finally!) that we cannot be perfect. That we can only do our best. And our very best is this: Getting up again and rejoining the race whenever we fall down. Always making sure it's the race we should be in in the first place. Stopping if we need to, to listen to people; especially little ones. And realizing that we are here to make mistakes. That's the best way to learn.

My lovely friend Robin Edmundson  put it this way:

"It made me think about one of the questions they asked me when I was doing the TV interview : How do people become good at art. I didn’t hesitate in my answer: . . .  Stop saying, ‘I can’t’. You’ve got to put in the time – spend the hours to build a relationship with your medium. Practice, practice, practice."

Practice. Implying we're not perfect right out of the box, and it's okay to learn and build.

And from Thomas Edison:

"I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work.

Nothing in there about being perfect. Only about trying again and again.

Heck. We can do that.


About Janiel 432 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.


  1. I LOVE that Thomas Edison quote. I use it a lot.

    I’ve found 10,000 ways not clean a studio. and 10,000 ways not to match colors. and 10,000 ways not to draw a flower.

    And my lists are never ever all crossed off. At the end of the day, I’m just happy if I can say, ‘I got stuff done.’

  2. It’s that E.S.P.-thing we’ve got going there, Steph. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it.

    And Rob, you’re way ahead of me, girl!

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