I really get annoyed when things in my life don’t seem perfect — and lately I’ve been noticing that this need for perfection interferes with my ability to experience pleasure. There are the little irritabilities — the powerlessness over slowing traffic in front of my car, the lateness of a spouse who needs to wash her hands before sitting down to the dinner I’ve prepared, the sound of television from the next room when I’d like some quiet time to read. All of these moments point to my own inner difficulty with expectation that the world must perfectly reflect what I want.
When expectation leads to a mind-state of fuming resentment, I know that I’m in trouble. The pleasure I might know in taking time to breathe and see the trees as my car glides slowly by, the satisfaction I could feel in a nutritious meal my hands have crafted, the gratitude I could choose in appreciating the multi-layered texture of sounds my fully working ears can hear (my mother had lost part of her hearing when she reached my age.) All of these are lost to my demand for perfection.
Today, though, I am choosing another path. In this tiny parcel of time which I am inhabiting, I choose pleasure over perfection and the sheer joy of this raucous, curveball-throwing universe which can be mine in all its funky, imperfect and pleasure-filled glory.
That’s what I call progress.