2 Jul 2019

Better Not Younger: Who Is Perfect?


Perfect is a word I use to often.

Who is perfect? What is perfect? Where is perfect?


Nothing is ever perfect and yet we strain ourselves constantly in this fruitless quest. I was guilty of this. Always striving to create the perfect everything and it is exhausting. Perfectionism is a bit of a fool’s game and those who play set themselves up for disaster. A lack of confidence, a feeling of discontent and perennial dissatisfaction are only some of the downsides.


Our best selves do not need to be perfect.

That doesn’t mean to say, near enough is good enough; doing our very best is everything. It doesn’t need to break us or depress us; trying to be the best version of us should be uplifting and create happiness. Once the unattainable idea of “perfect” interferes, trouble starts.


Some are perfectionists and some aren’t.

I have always believed it is a bit of a curse. Yes, it can lead to massive creativity and great levels of achievement but that standard of self-expectation is tough. Nothing ever eventuates as you imagined and a job is never done.


It’s a hard habit to break.

My Better Not Younger philosophy has helped me think this through.

Aging in the most fortunate case is not something we escape and it does have challenges; it is foolish to pretend otherwise. I want to turn the challenges into positives, into advantages. Focusing on what I can do in a real sense is very important while at the same time maintaining an active and healthy appetite for those challenges.


Trying to be perfect is not going to cut it anymore. It is a thankless pursuit. I do not want to encourage laziness or lack of adventure and spirit – far from it – but I do want to take the stress out. Perfectionism can foster a fear of failure and that’s the last thing we want.


How do we dial down the perfect and continue to be productive?

Relax.

Take the stress out and enjoy the process. If we are relaxed so will everything else.


Understand value.

Sometimes the value is disproportionate to the amount of time we spend on it. It is important to think clearly and be aware of what “value” is. Will a dinner party be a disaster if you seek help or fuss less? Most likely not. The joy is in the inviting and spending time with friends.


Remove unrealistic expectations.

Don’t we all have these? We push ourselves too hard.


Don’t overthink.

Overthinking, wanting to get it “just right” is a direct path to inaction. Making decisions, even when they don’t feel “perfect” can be liberating and set about a course of action that’s truly life-changing. Waiting in the wings, being an understudy is not where we want to stay. We have one chance, let’s take it.


Who wants to be perfect? Not me anymore. xv




ON SALE: Pretty Close To Perfect

semi sheer lace daisy blazer ||  crepe 3/4 blazer ||  khaki utility jacket




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image, nyc dance project

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13 Comments

Vicki

Perfect is my current enemy ;)
But not to be mistaken with wanting to do my personal best in every way I can.

Reply
anitapelayorivera

First of all, I want that dress.

Secondly, I feel blessed to have started hearing this message in my heart on my journey, as I started last year’s academic school year. As an educator, you must do your best, but you must also realize that your imperfections can be opportunities for development as a learner/educator and a “student whisperer” – this “wisdom” helped me chassé through the school year with a much calmer disposition, a better and cooler head on my shoulders, and now I want this “new me” to boldly but observantly walk into a new school year at the end of August.

Now, when it comes to my age…the peace and wisdom from within radiates outward, and a few wardrobe, make-up and accessory tricks help things along the way! I can always count on you here at VA to pique my inspiration!

Reply
Vicki

Thank you Anita :)
Maybe we can all learn and be “life whisperers”.. I like that idea. It’s true what we didn’t know and subsequently learned in our passage of time can be great experiences for others.
It’s funny how much wisdom we do learn along the way. Every day my brain is teasing me with memories… it’s something to do with a new grandson – so much keeps coming back and I suddenly understand I was paying much more attention over the years than I gave myself credit for. :)

Reply
Linda B

This was a thought-provoking read! In my new life chapter of retirement (5 weeks ago) and becoming a grandmother (4 weeks ago) I am discovering some of these very same life lessons for myself. I also had to learn in my career to not be such a perfectionist, and did to a degree, but because my work involved helping others, I always wanted it to be as well-done as humanly possible. Sometimes, maybe many times, I pushed myself way too hard. . . Now, I am also helping others–my daughter and son-in-law, and my aging parents–but the scope is so small and personal that it is easier to see that it is all a PROCESS. Nothing can be perfect, and so much is out of my control clearly–babies cry and fuss, aging seniors fall and get injured. I can only support my loved ones and try to take enough time for my own self-care and renewal.

I am also noticing in this new experience that it is easier to accept my own “flaws”–the wrinkles and laugh lines on my face that I now have time to see more clearly than when I was rushing around with my work. . . They seem like badges of life experience and wisdom now, somehow.

Reply
Vicki

It is a big topic and one I wish we could discuss in real time! Too much to say for a forum like this.. I wish I had understood wthe whole “what was out of my control” part of life better as I was growing up… :)

Reply
Pamela

Many years ago when very young and first married we had a wonderful adventurous holiday driving around Morocco and staying in very basic campsites. Everywhere in the markets there were cheap but fun colourful strings of tiny beads. I noticed they were all different. All had little imperfections, eg a red and black string might have a few yellow beads. Orange and pink might have some purple. I asked one of the girls selling them while there were always a few different colours. She said “Only God is perfect!”. We always add imperfections to remind ourselves. We must understand we are not perfect and cannot be.” I’ve always remembered this. As trying to do things perfectly was one of my flaws and at times must have made me difficult to live with. Now I see how silly it was. One does what once can – to do what is right and to make life happy and pleasant. But not to strive for perfection. Best wishes, Pamela

Reply
Vicki

“Now I see how silly it was”… that’s exactly how I feel, Pamela :)

Reply
Jay

I have a number of people in my life who always strive for perfection. I reluctantly admit that I’m in that camp. But, when I hit my sixties, I observed that my happiest friends/family who are in the “good enough” camp are really happier. I also notice that when I plan to take my time for dressing and makeup application, I don’t look as good and natural as when I dress on the fly and put my makeup on quickly (sometimes in the car!) – it looks more natural. Life is just too short to give in to wasting time on perfection. You never get those hours/days back.

Good topic.

Reply
Vicki

The hours I have lost! Frightening really… I agree… sometimes our most successful moments are those we don’t expect. :)

Reply
Jay

You struck the nail on the head when you brought up the word VALUE. Our time has enormous value. And, the older we get the more priceless it is. My husband looks at me when I’m striving to do something perfectly and says – ‘wow, you continue to put so little value on your time in the event that someone may notice some tiny little flaw’. He’s so right. Only when you truly realize yourself that you begin to let go of this behavior. This is quite a loaded topic that can’t even be captured here.

Reply
Dianne McPherson

Vicki, you seem to have a knack of hitting the nail on the head. I think, “I need a change of lipstick” and voila there you are telling me the perfect shade that very day. It happens so often its uncanny. Recently I found my joy in style/fashion waning and couldn’t fathom why. Upon analysis I realised that perfectionism was the culprit. By the time I had found an item of clothing that covered my ever growing list of requirements, all the joy had dissipated. I am slowly learning to ‘play’ with fashion again. To have fun. Thank you. You make my day!

Reply
Vicki

Dianne, thank you.
I don’t know why I had it in my mind… probably some of the same reasons but I truly believe a quest for perfectionism can sap more than help.
Enjoy fashion and play hard :)

Reply

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