perfectionism reconsidered

Posted: November 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

“I do pretty well, but I could do better.”  I heard myself saying this recently to a coworker.  She was asking how my resolution to be more consistent with my housework was going.

“I do pretty well, but I could do better.”  At its surface, this statement sounds like a good thing – like I am just striving to do things as well as I am able.  It sounds like leaning toward excellence.  It COULD be interpreted as trying to give my best, which my faith dictates I do so that I can honor the One that I serve.

I’ve been thinking about it further, though.

The truth is that the “pretty well” that I do is worlds better than I did for years.  The me that I was while my kids were growing up would not even BELIEVE it is possible to do this well.

G is a huge contributor to this – he does the bulk of the housework – but even before there was G, I had already made the shift to keeping a house I could not have dared to dream of in my 20s.  I have grown up enough to understand that some things just have to be tended to daily, or they take over and steal my peace and general sense of well-being.

So we live a decently ordered house, that is reasonably clean.  And yes once in awhile I spend an entire Saturday going deeper on that – stuff like ripping everything out of a closet to do a deep clean, or scrubbing behind and under our stove, but really it’s not bad.

Furthermore, what’s the reason it’s not shinier and closer to perfect?  Simply that my life is very full.

There is work, and my church activities, and attempting to get some exercise.  There is the preparing of real meals, which does take a decent chunk of each day.  There is yard work, which for me counts as a “creative project” (and thus is a mental health helper.)  There is my writing (and oh BOY have I been glad to get back to that) and tending to relationships.  There is getting enough sleep at night, which can be a challenge sometimes with G’s schedule.  And there is the huge priority of tending to my marriage, which I am careful and intentional to push ahead of many – MOST – other things.  None of this is unique.  Most of you reading have many of the same challenges; some of you have more.

Being 49 means I understand that everybody can’t do everything (no matter how much perfectionist me really wants to).  I understand that I have a finite number of hours in each day, and that every time I choose something to fill those hours, I am closing off something else.  If I could figure out how to make more time for something right now, I would want it to be related to time with my family and friends.  That’s so much more important that dusting, eh?

Reviewing all of this, I think I need to let go of this thought about my housework, that I do pretty well but could do better.  To do better, I’d have to steal time from something that matters more to me.  Living intentionally means NOT letting the lesser things steal from the greater, eh?

Just thinkin’ aloud.  HAPPY FRIDAY, all!


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