Growing up, I often played a game called Perfection. The object of the game is to match twenty-five tiny shapes on a board full of twenty-five tiny holes before the timer runs out. Let me tell you: it’s a nerve-racking way to pass your childhood—the ticking timer and the eventual explosion of all of those pieces. I suppose the moral of the game is to learn that the pursuit of perfection is futile…and stressful.
I have a dear friend who is always wishing she could be more domestic, more like Martha Stewart. She wants to cook more and learn to sew. She’s insecure when it comes to the art of crafting (She’s the only person I know who has glued her own hair with a hot glue gun). But she’s just not sure where to start.
Most anyone who does excel in cooking or crafting or sewing or gardening will tell you that you have to be willing to fail in order to improve. In our first apartment, I nearly burned down our kitchen while attempting to boil a pot of fettuccine noodles. I’ve sewed curtains that were too short and crocheted throws that angled into a trapezoid instead of a rectangle. I’ve hammered nails into the wall to hang pictures, and then I’ve changed my mind so I’m pretty good at filling holes with painter’s putty. And I’m still trying to grow a successful vegetable garden.
I try and fail and try again. I’m not so much in pursuit of perfection but basic accomplishment and continued learning. If I am successful in any of these interests it’s because I was willing to fail.
I hope to live my life in a way that shows I wasn’t afraid. If I’m fortunate enough to live to old age, I hope to tell the faces gathered around my sick bed that I wasn’t perfect but that didn’t stop me from living a life of purpose and perseverance.