Perfectionism and purpose

On my walk to work today (How can I give it up—it’s where I do my best thinking!) I re-thought my chronic guilt that my platform addresses are not as good as they should be.  Hang on–I’m not fishing for compliments, so please don’t send me any; I’ve heard and appreciate all the positive feedback I’ve received over the past year.  I’m not saying my platforms aren’t good.  I just know that they aren’t as good as they would be were I to spend even more time on them.  This is true probably of most of the things that most of us do, and if you’ve felt this way about aspects of your life I hope you’ve already realized what I didn’t until this morning:  that how you feel about your work (however you define work) should depend on your overall goals.

Sure, if I spent even more time on my platform addresses, they would be better.  But my purpose in life is not to give the best platform addresses I’m ideally capable of giving. . . . I don’t actually know my purpose in life, or at least how to articulate it.  But I do have many goals for my life, and they include balancing work, family and friends, leisure, and community; enjoying the arts and nature; staying informed about the world; spending a lot of quality time with my partner; being available to people who need me; keeping a healthy body and a relatively calm mind; having time to imagine, dream, and remember; taking the time to lead a life of voluntary simplicity.  There are more goals along those lines.  The point is that working a little bit toward all these goals whenever I can takes time and energy and thought, and moving a little closer to all of them means choosing not to focus on any one.  So I can feel guilty about not achieving one goal, or I can recognize that I’ve chosen a life in which I work toward a lot of goals that are important to me, which means probably not perfecting any.  But that’s the life I choose.