What’s Imperfect?

So many times we look for perfection—in our projects, in our homes, and in our personal lives. What’s so good about perfection?

bathtubsymmetryI see people try for perfection in any number of ways. We added this bathroom in our old house. When the tile guy asked me where I wanted the soap dish, I said, “Close to the bathtub spout.”

He said, “But you won’t be able to reach the soap from the tub.”

I said, “Right. I don’t want to reach the soap from the tub. I want to reach the soap from the shower.”

As you can see, I lost that argument. He put the soap dish in the exact middle of the tile. Not where I wanted it.

At the time, it wasn’t a big deal. I had balance.

Later, when it came time to add the grab bars for my safety, we had a problem. Where did we put them? We couldn’t add one long bar because the soap dish was in the exact wrong place. If the soap dish was closer to either end of the wall, I could have had a bar where I needed it. We compromised and found the next best spot with two grab bars.

It wasn’t a big deal. I was safe in the bathtub, and I have a great story about symmetry and perfection. (In our new house, we have a stall shower with many bars.)

Many other things are imperfect. For example, people’s faces are not perfectly symmetrical. That’s why you have a better side and worse side for pictures.

Our projects and work certainly are imperfect. We can aim for perfection. I don’t know about you—I rarely achieve perfection. I get pretty good or even great. I am not perfect.

Our imperfections make us interesting. They provide us opportunities for potential learning, and problem-solving.

I often think of problem-solving as a vehicle for learning. Sometimes, I miss the cues, so my solving and learning occurs later than I might like. My problem-solving is imperfect.

In the US, we will celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow. In the spirit of realizing not everything is perfect, I have baked several things for dinner. I’m not expecting perfection. I’m hoping for edible for one of my recipes and for good enough for the other. We have many other dishes coming so if I screwed up, it won’t be the end of the world. If I baked well, we will enjoy the recipes. If I didn’t, we’ll have stories.

I decided it was time for me to look for and forgive imperfections, especially if I have a good story. For many things, I still seek perfection. I’m not so disappointed when I’m not perfect. I often get good stories out of it. The imperfection is what’s interesting to everyone.

Dear readers, that is the question this week: What’s imperfect?

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