Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Perfect Post

I'm not sure if it's my role as mother, teacher, housewife, friend, or writer ... but lately the word "perfect" and its overuse has been really bothering me.

I think I've become oversensitive to it because of all the new baby reading/preparing we've been doing lately. Being a hormonal, pregnant woman apparently makes me a "perfect" target for a Perfect Campaign. Don't I want everything to be Perfect for the baby? Perfect name, perfect clothes, perfect nursery .... heaven forbid you even consider the concept of "good enough." It must be Perfect!

It takes me back to the days of wedding planning. Anytime something unique happens in a modern American consumer's life, in my humble observations, that consumer is urged to make it Perfect. You'll (hopefully) only get married once! One honeymoon, one first house, and every baby is its own unique opportunity for perfection in parenting. Or at least the accoutrements that go along with it.

I may strike people as a perfectionist personality, but I actually really hate the word and the idea behind it. Either it's right or it's wrong, and there's no room in-between. Why does it have to be "perfect"? What does that mean? Why urge people to strive for something that doesn't even exist?

Maybe this is just a few years of therapy talking, but I honestly don't think I've ever bought into the idea of perfect. Now, I am absolutely willing to admit (I almost wrote "perfectly willing") that I want things how I want things. And if they are not that way, I may get a tad anxious or upset. But to me, that's different from the Perfect that advertisers and advice columnists are trying to sell me on. I'm talking about my own personal goals and aspirations—goals that are often far removed from society's view of perfection.

For example, my wedding was quite unconventional in some ways. When we got engaged, I told Keith my engagement ring could cost, at the most, $200. I didn't want a diamond (although he got a miniscule one anyway). The engagement ring wasn't that important to me, and I didn't want him spending a lot of money we didn't really have on a status symbol. I would much rather have a nice honeymoon, which we did! So facets of the wedding were not Society Perfect, but they were just how I/we wanted them.

What is the point of this perfection rant? It's a stern reminder to myself, and a call to my fellow parents/teachers/friends/house spouses/writers/etc.: Don't give in! Don't spend that extra money or extra time to make something "perfect." Just make it what you want. If we strike "perfect" from our collective vocabulary, we'll all be a lot more relaxed, hopefully slightly richer, and perfectly relatively happy.

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