On her 70th birthday my mother exclaimed distress that she wasn’t perfect yet. I’ve never considered perfection a worthy goal. I prefer the connotations of flawless. The novelist’s lovely heroine was of flawless complexion with her every hair effortlessly in place. But how do you dig up gladiolas and replant garlic, chase children with no hope of catching them, hug a woman who has lost her baby, and retain the appearance of flawless. I guess that’s why our heroine exists in fiction.
We reach a point of decision: what is worth our time and energy? Why beat ourselves up when we need to set something aside for the time being?
We have all experienced being the caregiver whether with our children or parents, or a friend in need. In those times we can free ourselves from a lot of guilt if we relinquish the insanity of being perfect, flawless and especially the appearance of either.
In the Sept/Oct issue of Today’s Caregiver magazine, Dr. James Huysman writes on the Halloween theme of the mask of perfection. He identifies the danger of berating ourselves over our inability to do everything, and asks “who will care for you when you collapse from the effort?”