We all want the perfect job, the perfect body, the perfect mate, the perfect… well, you know – we want the perfect life.
Only one problem. It doesn’t exist.
Shocking, right? Here you were thinking you could actually have all of these things, working your ass off, in hopes of one day obtaining perfection in your career, your body and your love life.
You’ve known all along that perfection is a myth, that nothing is perfect, including those supremely imperfect humans, us and everyone around us.
So why all of the stress? Why the constant struggle in pursuit of the dream life if it doesn’t even exist?
I watched a TV show yesterday. Okay, I watched a show on TiVo yesterday that I don’t normally admit to watching, let alone recording, because it’s heavy on the ‘60s hippy vibe, even though I doubt the host was even alive during Woodstock. But it has some interesting guests (along with some bizarre ones), so I TiVo it and watch in secret.
Yesterday’s show featured a couple who had the near-perfect suburban dream home. Life was good. One day the woman woke up and realized that they would both spend the rest of their lives working to keep up this dream that never could be truly perfect.
They got it.
They sold the house in the burbs, bought some land for cash and built a 500 square foot house. Everything in the house was built for comfort and easy upkeep. The materials were mostly repurposed items that were some else’s trash, someone else’s “not perfect”. They planted a garden so they could grow most of their own food. They collected readily available rainwater for their home. They built the house with portability in mind, in case they decided to up and move one day.
In reality, they weren’t looking to be some symbol of the perfect “green” life. They just chose to do what made them happy.
I know I don’t eat the way most people do anyway. I don’t eat grains, except for the occasional white rice or corn tortilla. I avoid seed oils and soybean oil when I can. I don’t eat processed foods, excess sugar or artificial anything. For some, that sounds weird. For me, it keeps me healthy and feeling good.
But I see some that are truly struggling to find The Perfect Diet. I don’t know, maybe it’s a struggle for immortality or eternal happiness. Personally, I just don’t get it. I’m going to tell you a secret, but don’t go spreading it around:
You will not live forever. No matter what you eat, how you exercise, how well your career goes, how big your house is or how rock hard your abs are, you will still die someday.
Remember, now. That’s our little secret.
So what do we do? We can’t live forever. We can’t ever have the perfect life because there will always be just one more thing we need for it to be absolutely perfect, then one more thing after that, then the latest version of the last “one last thing”. You can see how this doesn’t really work in the long run. What can we do?
ROI. Return On Investment.
Seriously, just how much benefit are you receiving from the time, money and effort that you’re putting in to the pursuit of “better”? Because we’ve already tossed the pursuit of “perfection” out the window as a huge waste of time.
Let’s take food. So I cut out the grains. How does that change my life? Well, I have probably ½ the number of migraines when I don’t eat grains. That’s a pretty good return on a minimal investment. Half that number again if I take a couple of magnesium capsules every day. Even better.
Calculating my micro- and macronutrients? Not so much. Really doesn’t make a dent in my heath or happiness, so that’s out the window. I could try my best to have rock hard abs, but it would involve investing a lot of time and effort for a very minimal return. No one would really care but me, and I could only stare at them for a couple of minutes a day. No thanks.
How about work? Well, I’m very likely going to be job hunting soon. My job will be “technologically eliminated” sometime in the next few months. Should I look for the perfect job, complete with the perfect job title, the perfect boss and a career ladder that I can climb for miles? Yeah, probably not. I’m going to try to find a job that I will enjoy (for the most part) and will pay the bills without getting me into debt.
Debt is definitely not happiness, but that’s another post for another time when I’m feeling more political and less ‘Woodstock”.
The lesson of the day is: Invest in the things that will give you joy and make for an enjoyable life in the long run. Don’t beat yourself up in pursuit of some perfect life you think you must achieve before you can truly be happy. Start living your life now.