What is your idea of perfection?
For me, I imagine a beautiful house with a porch. Surrounded by a lake and hundreds of trees with soft grass, scattered with poppies and tulips. I would have a porch swing I could curl up on in the evenings with a book while my partner sat across from me, teaching our children to play the guitar. The house would have been designed by my partner and I. We worked together to build our dream home complete with guest rooms, a personal library, and a kitchen island. I would have a little office tucked in the warmth of our home, decorated with dark oak and a collection of quills. While the kids are at school, I’d prepare the family meal in the slow cooker, take the dog for a walk, and maybe meet a friend for a chai latte before coming back home and settling into my comfy office chair. I’ll open my laptop and type out a chapter of the latest book I’m writing, sketch some concept designs, write a new blog post, and maybe answer some fan mail/social media requests. It’s a quiet and simple life, yet a happy one. As the summer holidays roll around, I can scratch my itch for adventure. My family and I would spend 4 weeks every summer heading to a different place in the world; probably decided by throwing a dart at a map. We journey through India, Thailand, Africa. Anywhere our heart desires. We visit temples, volunteer at animal sanctuaries, learn the local dances. Everything is happy and perfect…right?
This has been my dream for as long as I can remember. Everything about it is so beautiful and perfect that it’s almost annoying. It doesn’t seem real and it’s like the beginning of a movie full of serial killers and affairs, people who have made deals with the devil or run a secret drug empire. Either way, I almost feel like I’m chasing a dead-end goal.
I keep changing my mind over whether my next sentence should be, “so, how do I get there?” Or, “do I really want that life?” While everything about my dream is perfect, it still feels like there’s something missing from that world. The thing is, I don’t think life is perfect? Don’t get me wrong, we should strive towards what we think will make us happy, and this is still going to be a big part of my dream, but I think I’m just worried that it still won’t be enough. I can’t express how guilty it makes me feel to say that but there’s just something nudging the back of my brain saying that this perfect life I’m dreaming of, isn’t as perfect as it seems.
I suppose I’m worried that if I spend my whole life aiming for this one ideology of perfection, I could waste my life. What if I never get to this life and end up convincing myself that I’m a failure? Or even worse, what if I DO get there and realise that actually, life isn’t perfect. You see, life is messy and full of challenges; if everything was perfect 100% of the time, we wouldn’t appreciate the good things in life as we would have nothing to compare it too. Plus if we keep telling ourselves that we will be happy when we reach our end goal, then we won’t focus on being happy in the present time. Also, throughout our lives we change and evolve; if we focus hard on this one dream then we won’t accept change and we could end up living a dream only to realise it’s not actually what we’ve wanted for a long time.
So, in answer to the question, “how to live a perfect life”. Put your end goal in the background and focus on the now. As you move through your life, your end goal will adapt and change as you find new things that make you happy. That way, if you never find yourself reading on a porch swing while your partner plays the guitar, it doesn’t matter, because that probably wasn’t what you needed to make you happy anyway.