ZOOMERS: A blip in our quest for perfection

April Lewis delves into the human need for perfection

Every morning I come downstairs, and there it is.

Without fail, it is there to greet me.

“Good morning!” It mocks me as I wipe the sleep from my eyes.

Sometimes as I turn the corner I will it to be gone. Vanished. Out of my life.

But there it is.

The blip in my floor. The imperfection in my engineered floorboards.

And why have you left this imperfect mar on my perfect shiny floor? What is the bubble, the eruption meant to represent? What is its purpose save to cause me angst?

It is there to annoy me knowing I can do nothing about it.

I am not yet at peace with my aberration, but I am getting there.

I walk around it avoiding it. I stomp on it hoping that my weight will cause it to recoil back to an even perfection. I clean it lovingly with Murphy’s oil.

However, in an imperfect world, I know it serves a purpose. It is there to remind me that I can overcome the blips in my own life.

It is there to remind me that perfection is not attainable nor should I ever aspire to such a goal.

What is with our insatiable need for perfection?

The very word “perfection” implies it is unattainable, so why do we torment ourselves believing it is? Surely we only set ourselves up for disappointment and feelings of inadequacy.

Whitney Johnson, author of Dare, Dream, Do says “If we are perfect, then we are good enough. If we are good enough, people will have to love us.”

This speaks to the notion that underneath this relentless desire for perfection lies an underlying fear of failure or criticism, a fear which is deeply entrenched and a hard habit to break.

The media plays into this fear beautifully with its marketing strategies. You have got to have the latest gadget or toy, a bigger house, a flashier car, a more prestigious job.

And a more perfect place to live.

Speaking of which, I am hooked on HGTV’s two programs, House Hunters International and Live Here, Buy This. Both feed into our yearning for perfection.

If we lived in a different house or a different city or a different country, our lives would be perfect and so much happier we are led to believe.

The thing I love about the former show is none of the three final choices is perfect. There is always something wrong with the houses. They are either situated on a busy street, or the kitchen is too small or there is no backyard.

And yet the prospective buyers must choose one. How cruel, I am thinking, for the couple will never be truly happy knowing they had to sacrifice perfection.

As for the latter show, the producers push it up a notch with the implication that you can find perfection in another country. Why, that pastoral spread in Argentina, or the jungle house in Belize or the ocean-view villa in Mexico is all you need to find perfection.

They present the viewer with a projected, unattainable longing which only serves to fill us with more unhealthy disappointment.

Meanwhile, my blip in my floor is still there.

It is there cajoling me into a peaceful co-existence.

I am thinking this might be possible, as it doesn’t talk back or criticize.

I think we can become fast friends.

In an imperfect world.

April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.