Every spring I put a fresh coat of paint on all the rooms in the house, and redecorate with new pillows, rugs, crisply ironed linens, and a few pieces of furniture. I try some delicious, heart-healthy recipes, and I whip together a few casseroles that I freeze to take out for a cozy Sunday afternoon when I just don’t feel like cooking. I don my cute sun hat with the wide, polka-dot ribbon, and get digging in my garden. I begin by rearranging my mature plantings. I overturn my soil, adding blood meal for nourishment, all the while thinking about the way the light hits certain areas before deciding on new perennials. I untie the hand-woven, artisan burlap I lovingly wrapped around my shrubs last fall (for protection from the harsh winter months). And I peruse the seed catalogs while I re-fill my potting supplies for my pretty little white washed potter’s bench and utility sink combo that my husband designed, built, and installed for my gardening pleasure. He’s an absolute gem!
I work to perfect different fruit salsa recipes. I bake a variety of muffins and strudels for my family to enjoy on the weekends. I make little bagged gifts of trail mix featuring nuts and healthy home-made granola just in case some of my many friends pop over while I’m working in my garden outside. I add a bit of the sugared, dried cranberries and salted, roasted pumpkin seeds I prepared last fall, and then I creatively tie the bags with pretty, personalized ribbons or some natural looking raffia. For cooler spring evenings, I make sure to have ingredients for S’mores at the ready in a labeled, wicker basket in the pantry. I pull it out to the surprise and delight of my children when we are seated around the fire pit singing folk songs. And I give the house a full top to bottom cleaning, complete with a window wash – just so I can delight in watching the busy birds and small animals build nests and scamper around my park-like setting of a backyard.
And then, when I finish my lists and lists of tasks, I roll a big, fat doobie and smoke it all by myself while I pretend to be the happiest person alive!
Okay – I’m kidding of course. I certainly don’t do any of those things, but guess what? I’m still really happy. Go figure. I’m happily imperfect.
This may come as a big surprise, but I don’t always say or do the right thing. I let my feelings show. I have bad days. I get angry. I lay on the couch and do nothing. Sometimes my bathrooms get bad enough to contemplate hiring a professional cleaning service. I have tired days. I leave wet towels in the washing machine for way too long only to have to re-wash them to get the musty smell out. Sometimes I don’t take my makeup off before bed, and my mascara smears up my pillow case when I cry myself to sleep. I half ass things all the time, especially recipes and housework. My kitchen is clean, but I assure you it is not overly scrubbed. Same goes for the floor. All the floors. Sometimes I just blindly spray the Clorox into the shower stall and leave it there to “settle” in. Smells clean, right? I like a clean house but I don’t worry about dirt under the couch. At all. Or in the cushions. I don’t give a damn about the thread-bare pillows on that couch either – the couch that has endured years of abuse and continues to stoically wait to be put out to pasture.
Sometimes I cringe at the sound of laughter because I’m a total bitch. Just ask my daughter. Yes, laughter annoys me. Sometimes.
Sometimes my roots grow out a solid two inches past their due date. Whatever.
You would never know it by my stellar fashion sense, but I don’t care that much about what I’m wearing, ever. I do brush my teeth regularly, and I totally floss the shit out of them, but I don’t care if my hair is perfectly clean and coiffed. That’s what headbands and pony tails are for.
Yet, I’m happy. I continue to be happily imperfect. And as my sweet-natured, felon friend Martha Stewart likes to say, “that’s a good thing.”
We must strive to live our lives happily imperfect, ladies and gents. Take full deep breaths, stretch those muscles, sleep well and let the piles of laundry wait. If you need to perfect something, work on telling a great joke, or being the best possible friend. Work on finding solutions to real problems. Extend your arms and practice being kind. Look for joy everywhere, and savor the perfect moments when they happen – you know the ones – a stunning view, sunshine when it hits the water just right, a newborn baby, a blood moon, watching someone cross a finish line, or getting a clean bill of health. It sure is nice when the linen closet is organized, but give it a rest. Pay attention to what’s important. A dirty floor isn’t a priority unless it’s really sticky. Obviously we need to water our gardens, but we can take it easy, can’t we? Plants, like people, get better and heartier when they have to improvise.
We can live (and simply love) inside the perfect moments that happen whether we create them or not. If we learn to notice them when they happen, everything else – all the promises, the chore lists, the magazines that guilt us into feeling like failures because our kitchen cabinets aren’t chalk-painted the perfect shade of vintage dove gray, and the idea that home-crafted cupcakes make us better people, will indeed fall away. The nagging implication that we aren’t worthy, or good enough, or lovable, if we don’t do what we are told, will simply fall away.
My darlings, stop trying to impress the world. You, as you, already do.