Perfection is Paralyzing

Julia Hubbel, Walkabout Saga, Horizon Huntress

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You will never be perfect until you realize that you're perfect right now.

Arvada, Colorado, is a booming suburb of Denver, just to the north of Interstate 70 on the West side of town. I lived there for a while with the man who would become my husband, albeit briefly. I was doing some consulting work. It was the early 1990s.

One day I visited a local bookshop where one of my favorite Colorado authors was signing books. Dan Simmons, multiple award-winning author of too many books to list, was there. I loaded up my collection of aging paperbacks and hardbacks and headed over to get them signed.

I told Simmons that day that I wanted to write a book. He refrained from rolling his eyes, as every author I've ever met hears this, and handed me my books back.

"You do that," he said, not unkindly.

Some weeks later I nearly beheaded my erstwhile boyfriend (good thing he was behind me) when, in the heat of an argument, he told me I could right a book. I was so mad that I buried my watch in the drywall on the other side of the living room. We didn't get our rent deposit back either.

Some years later, I had been teaching networking skills for years. I decided to put my ideas into a book. That began a hopeless process of endless rewrites, editor after editor, endles changes and useless changes. That book still sits in a file on my computer. It's awful.

And it's awful because it had to be perfect. HAD to be perfect. And therefore, it never got done, and it sits on my computer. Probably forever.

Some years later in 2010 I had an idea. The idea took fire. Nine months later that fiery idea manifested into a book that I held in my hand. Was it perfect? Nope. Was there a typo or two? Yup. Did I care? Nope. It was good enough. In fact it was good enough to win three prizes.

However I had to get go of perfect. While "good enough" can look pretty bad for a rookie at some point we also have to understand that perfection, and its pursuit, can be paralyzing. We can't get anything done, or we are always and forever unhappy with our appearance, because we aren't perfect.

Which is part of the reason that facial filters can be so problematic for people, for perfection implied on your device is not perfection delivered in person. That is another article. Still, the point remains the same.

My now ex-husband back in Arvada knew that I had a book in me. So far there have been two of them, and both won prizes, and both were perfectly imperfect. I've had to learn to let go of perfection in pursuit of knowing when to let go of a project and get it out the door. Most of the time life takes care of the rest without any help from you or me.

That is faith. That is also recognizing that the pursuit of perfection can cost us time we can spend being deeply happy being flawed. That is the human condition, as is learning that being imperfect is perfectly normal.

About three years ago I sent a letter to Dan Simmons, who by now has so many awards for his books that I am sure he has a room at his ranch dedicated just to those. I said simply that we had met. I told him I had a book in me, and he was kind enough not to laugh me out the door. But I did have a book in me, two in fact. While I am no best selling author, I am a prize winning one at my own level.

And for me that's just perfect.

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Welcome home. You are HOME if you like irreverent, smart, funny, in-your-face writing. You are HOME if you like stories about interesting people of all ages, cultures, stripes, backgrounds, beliefs doing amazing things because they made different decisions. You are HOME if you wanna learn about aging vibrantly, being in the outdoors, getting and staying fit no matter our number. You are HOME if, on occasion, you like to laugh so hard you spew your drink of choice on your lap cat/dog/gerbil/centipede/soon-to-be ex. I work hard, ride fast horses, do lots of sports, fly high and still leap out of airplanes. Yeah, really, and I am 68. And yes I love, respect and appreciate feedback, including stuff that's hard. Because hard is the recipe for resilient. Wanna play? Let's. Please. Pull up a chair. There's room by the fire. In summer, there's room on the patio. (Okay so I don't have a patio. I made that up.)Get comfy. Bring a towel for your lap. Welcome home.

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