Something Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Wonderful.
Maybe it is age, but I feel the pressure to have A Perfect Life is almost inescapable—or at least much more prevalent than I ever remember.
Of course, during our lives, we have all striven to be the best at something, but decades ago, we only compared ourselves to our immediate circle.
We imagined hosting the perfect dinner party that people would speak about for years or taking that special vacation that resulted in an album packed with jaw-dropping photos. We wanted to bake the best cake or adopt the perfect pup.
We may have studied celebrities (not that they were called that) and dreamt how we could pull up close to their magical worlds, but—unless you were delusional—you knew they were a minuscule percentage of the world’s population. You were unlikely to ever be in the same space as them, let alone share a lifestyle.
Burying ourselves in movies or magazines was a harmless escape, a moment to imagine we were the ones with the yachts or jewelry, private chefs, and art collections. And, once that moment passed, we waved away those dreams and re-entered our real lives ready to savor our small magical moments.
We may not have owned a yacht, but an afternoon pool party could bring us huge joy. No art collection? Taping your child’s artwork to the fridge made you both smile.
Nowadays, our lives are flooded with social media feeds. Even if you eschew all those platforms, you cannot help but see images of “Other People’s Perfect Lives.” (Yes, I have taken to capitalizing it.)
I am an avid New York Times reader. It is regarded as a serious publication steeped in editorial excellence. But, turn to almost any section that is not hard news, and you will be swamped with photos and articles about OPPL—other people’s perfect lives.
The wedding section alone will leave you cringing at the thought of your bog-standard, ordinary wedding. What? You didn’t host a four-day event? No arrivals by helicopter? Only one wedding dress?
Even if you glance through your local town newspaper, you’ll see highly staged events simply to announce the gender of an unborn child. Fireworks, banners, choreographed dance steps! And all these celebrations are not being held by famous people; it’s your neighbors.
Yes, I love it when people celebrate important moments in their lives, engagements, marriages, baptisms, graduations, promotions, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. But there seems to be so much pressure to put on a unique event that rivals the Superbowl Halftime Show.
Even vacations have been high-jacked by stylists. Who are these people trailing through Venice in six-inch heels or riding on elephants in a ruby red ball gown? And, how on earth did she pack that colossal hat?
The pressure is piled onto teens, young adults, and even older adults to live “Instagram-worthy” lives. We all know why people have become more stressed about planning a wedding than who they are going to marry! It feels like every single person on earth will see photo evidence of your wedding so it had better be The Perfect Wedding!
I have always reminded my children (and yes, myself) that something doesn’t have to be perfect to be absolutely wonderful.
A quiet coffee as the sun rises can be wonderful. The fact you are sitting in your ordinary kitchen, which is as messy or plain as most peoples, doesn’t detract from the joy.
A child’s birthday picnic with sandwiches and juice will be remembered with as much happiness as the party extravaganza with llamas, clowns, bubble machines, and a DJ.
Take a moment in your daily life to step away from the endless scrolling and look around your world.
Perfect doesn’t exist, but wonderful is all around us.