How many moments in our life will everything be just perfect, in order, complete?
How many moments will the things we wish we could assemble perfectly, stand flawlessly and resolutely just as we dreamed?
How many moments?
Leo Tolstoy said “If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.” I wonder what it was that compelled him to that realisation.
But I’m starting to understand that these moments — at least in the way I've described them — never happen so perfectly, so I really have to stop pretending like they do.
As an example, if I were asked to reflect on the weekend just passed, I would say that the majority of it was spent frantically, and rather unsuccessfully trying to organise my routine for the work week ahead as efficiently as I possibly could.
Washing and organising my gym bags and training gear, doing groceries, preparing meals, arranging supplements, cleaning the house and bathrooms and dozens of other menial tasks, each with its distinct place in the weekly jigsaw of my life. The search for some form of perfection.
And despite the workload I managed to get through, by the end of it all, the sheer weight of the remaining items left incomplete on the table made me feel like I'd failed. Like I'd lost the weekend.
And being swept up in this continual cycle of tasks made me miss out on some pretty important events. Not in the sense that I wasn't there physically, but in the sense that I wasn't fully there for what was in retrospect, a weekend of pretty amazing moments.
I caught up for a meal with my parents, my girlfriend and her Mum. It may not sound like much, but this is important. How often in life do we get to sit at a table with people we truly love? Who also love us too? It's a pretty rare occurrence — to sit and hear about their lives, their thoughts and their opinions.
However, I wasn’t present for just about the whole meal. I missed it. I was in another world. Probably worried about getting my hair cut and putting the rubbish out.
My compulsion to complete the jigsaw got the better of me.
On top of this, my cousin had his first child. Our small family grew by one. How often in life do you become someone's cousin, or uncle, or father? How often do you get to see a new person who didn't exist yesterday? Again, I didn't give this moment the attention and joy it deserved. You can’t do these moments over.
I also sat in a park and watched the sunset with my girlfriend. 25 minutes that even I had to stop, sit and watch. It was beautiful. But all the while my brain ticked away on the nothings to be done next.
I've got shit to do. Unfinished business.
The world is unfolding beautifully around us all the time, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. Either we choose to focus on the amazing things, or we are swept up in the never ending nonsense. Each option is there for us to lose ourselves in or to lose out in.
The strange irony is when you finally begin to realise this, you recognise that things are pretty perfect just the way they are. Waiting for the nonsense to be out of the way before you enjoy the beauty will only lead you on a winding path to nowhere. Missing out on some unforgettable moments along the way.
Published on The Good Men Project April 12 2017.