July 2012

Reaching Perfection

My mom built a new house in the Springtime of this year. Given that it’s still under warranty, she can have anything replaced for free until next April. So two weeks ago, she had some construction workers come over to patch up a few things around the house.

In the kitchen, there is a small bubble my mom pointed out on the front wall towards the ceiling. It’s the same color as the paint on the walls so in all honesty, nobody could notice. My mom noticed and that’s what bothered her. She would point it out to everybody who came over when she would tour them through the house. What she doesn’t accept, is the fact that if she never pointed it out, not one person would have ever noticed the bubble on the wall.

So, she got it fixed and now there is a definitely noticeable, big, white spot of plaster on the wall, in replace of the invisible bubble.

So it makes me think about life in general. Why is it that we feel the need to change the smallest things, thinking it will reach perfection? What is perfection for that matter? If we never put our imperfections on blast, how many people would really notice? And even if they did, how many would think of it as an imperfection or as individuality?

Striving for perfection will almost always backfire to your advantage. How many times have you tried to fix something and in the end it turns out worse than it was before? This also happened to me as of yesterday. I had very different and apparent tan lines, so on Sunday, I went into a tanning bed…. at two different tanning salons. I know.. horrible mistake, right? I always knew why you shouldn’t do it. I know I was just begging for what came next. But I was desperate. Today I am in a lot of pain. It’s hard for me to move, because I am burnt in the most inconvenient places. I am peeling, which wouldn’t be so bad if it were just peeling. However, underneath the peeling (which is coming off by the chunks), is bright red, brand new skin. Kind of like that gooey, slippery feel as if you just intended to give yourself a 2nd degree burn.
Now, I don’t think my burn was quite a second degree, but it’s definitely worse than if I just didn’t go tanning at all. Or I just went to one tanning salon. I have not only learned my lesson, but I also learned that people and things will never be perfect.

Perfection is not real.

When we try to reach perfection, we’re taking away a small part of our happiness due to instant gratification. We want something that instant, we forget about the process, the recovery, the tools needed, and the unexpected things in the future.

Getting cosmetic, unnecessary surgeries, surrounding yourself with materialistic and unimportant items just to prove to people that you have something, not asking for help when we need it… we do so many things (sub consciously or not) to try and get to that peak. That nonexistent mountain peak where we will feel beautiful and powerful in one way or another once we reach it. But the secret is that we will all die reaching it.

The more we get plastic surgery, the less we become ourselves. The more material items we buy, the less original and down to earth we become. We would no longer buy things that actually mean something to us or our personal style, we would be buying to “keep up with the Jones'” or just to impress people. And why should we have to spend money to impress other people? If they like you for your things or your money, they will never care about you. Just about what you have.

Life is not about how perfect we can be. Life isn’t about competition of who has the better things, environment, or resources.

Life is about sharing. Sharing friends, family, memories, photos, videos, experiences. Life is about giving. Giving to those in need, giving food to the hungry, giving a coat to someone who is cold, giving someone a trax ticket that has yet to expire when you are done with it. Life is about helping. Helping people who need it, helping your parents clean the house, helping to keep the streets cleaner by putting garbage in the bin – even if it’s not yours. Helping a child reach something on a high shelf.

Nobody cares about what you have physically. When we die, we will not be remembered for the things we had, the things we wore, or the car we drove (for those that drive a car). People will remember us for the good times we had with them, the ideas shared, the knowledge shared, the times that we acted like friends. Like family. The times you make mistakes together, make messes that take days to clean up. The times you accidentally put something red in a load of whites and your laundry all turns pink. When you try new recipes together. The times you forget not everybody is in the car and you start to drive off and suddenly realize a block away you are missing a person.

Imperfection is the secret to perfection.

It makes life exciting and more valuable. It makes us who we are as creative individuals. That’s what makes us important. That’s what makes us loved. There is no reason to chase perfection, because perfection is predictable and boring.
How do you want to be remembered?

Side Effects of Jetlag.

THIS IS ME.

I can’t seem to get over the jet-lag since being home from China. Every day, I have had barely enough energy to make it through the next step. The moment the sun sets, my eyes are wide awake waiting for the next event. I am running around and talkative and sleep is the last thing on my mind.
I would have never expected to still be working off China time.

I used to never believe in jet-lag. I used to think, Well, it’s easy. You just go to bed when you normally would and it just goes from there. 
I am so, so, very wrong.
I am already debating on sleeping again as I am writing this.

I am going to bed every night (or day, depending on your perception of when a new day starts. For me, it’s not a new day until you shower or sleep) between 4 and 5 in the morning. And still waking up anywhere between 7 and 9 in the morning. I have to say, I still eat breakfast and that impresses me alone. Breakfast will always be the most important meal of the day, in my opinion. If I am not dragged out of bed by a social life, then I fall right back asleep.

It’s not that I am eating at odd hours, I am just not eating. My body hasn’t yet recognized when it should and should not be hungry. I have lost all of my routine that I had before and during China. I am currently in the process of putting together a new routine, depending on the job I get again.
I get so mixed up on what I should do throughout the day that I would have normally been doing for the past few months, that I just don’t do anything and sleep instead. Always hoping when I wake up, I will really still be in Bengbu, and have to get ready for teaching.

Though I was only gone for five months, it seemed like a year. When you immerse yourself in a different culture so quickly and so deeply, you forget a lot about your own culture, so coming back is just a little overwhelming. It’s like a roller coaster. I have forgotten how to talk to people sometimes because I have been so used to broken English, charades, and grunting my words out. I am used to staying more silent than my reputation holds me to be. I talk completely different.

I am so glad I have a best friend who stays up late. He has saved me from boredom, luckily because he had two days off. Together we ventured at night to mountaintops and movie nights in his room and hungout around a bonfire and he took me to a party. I was awake for all of this! Had this been in the middle of the day, I would have fallen asleep in the truck or on a chair or in the bed. So far, he is the only one I have seen and I am glad because it’s easy to get into the groove of things with him. He is making this process easy for me.

If you have ever had jet-lag then maybe you will understand how you question all the hours you are awake and yet not doing anything of importance. You know that diary I write in? Those pictures I have to edit? The things I still need to find a place for in my room? Yes, I haven’t touched any of it. How is it that I can give myself so little of sleep and yet can’t seem to find the time to do everything I need to do?
And maybe that is my problem. Maybe forcing myself to do those will help me get my balance back in life. The one thing I can’t let myself do is fall behind on things. That will only add to my feeling of overwhelming and stress. Although, why stress? I have time to get it together and there is no use in rushing, because as life teaches us: rushing things will only make it worse.

So I guess all I can do is start working towards the closest stamp of routine I can get used to. And no matter what time I fall asleep, I should wake up at the same time. That way, my body will at least be used to when breakfast is and the morning regimen I give it. I know jet-lag won’t last forever, or probably even to the end of next week, but there’s no better time like the present!

I just had to vent about this jet-lag and hopefully I can get through this sometime in the next couple of days. Not working is the perfect time to get things organized and figured out! So maybe this is a blessing in disguise. I am hoping this post made some sort of sense because my eyes keep shutting and rolling in the back of the my head as I type, still.

Although contradicting, maybe I will take a one hour nap and then get it all together. Good idea? Maybe not, but then again, maybe I just got inspired for a new 30 Day Challenge……