Perfectionism is a futile pursuit. I used to think that if I just had more time in my day, more skill or more focus, I could achieve so much more. I’ve often wondered when all the stuff I have to do will be done, so I can just be lazy, rest, and cloud gaze or maybe stuff a mushroom.
The irony is it’s taken me years to realise it’s never all done. You must make time for time out within your endless to-do list. It’s the doing and the being in each moment that offers its own reward and a kind of peace, by doing one thing at a time and doing it well – whether it’s momentous or mundane. Ask anyone who excels at precision.
My surgeon father once exclaimed how pleased he was with his own handiwork as he put one tiny, perfect stitch above my eye, knowing it would heal indiscernibly. At the time it looked incredibly horrible to 16 year old me so I was less appreciative, yet now you’d never even know I once had a mole.
Today my house is in disarray, my desk’s a disaster and everywhere I look I can only see unfinished jobs. It’s paralysing to stand in the midst and survey the scene; makes me want to go directly to the beach and practise denial from a distance. Yet once started it feels calming and productive to tackle each task, in turn. As the well-known quote goes, you can eat an elephant one bite at a time. It takes a lot of single threads to make a tapestry; each stitch matters in itself.
Another good quote:
“Not everything that happens during the day is an omen portending a good or evil development in the future, but everything has meaning to one degree or another, for the world is an ever-weaving tapestry from which no thread can be pulled without destroying the integrity of the cloth.” ― Dean Koontz, Deeply Odd
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