A Little Less Than Perfect

Hanging things on the walls of a 100-year-old house is a challenge. Nothing is straight, nothing is even. Not the floor boards, the base boards, the door frames, the walls or the ceilings. So you can imagine how difficult it is to hang pictures or wall decorations and have them appear perfectly straight. If you align them with the ceiling, you can guarantee they will not be parallel with the floor and vice versa. This can be quite maddening for a self-professed perfectionist.

For someone like me who loves, loves, LOVES straight lines, parallel lines, perpendicular lines, 90 and 45 degree angles… the decorating process can be nothing short of difficult. Now, I’m not talking “Alice-In-Wonderland” type screwy walls and floors… just your basic I’ve-been-sitting-here-for-100-years-and-the-ground-beneath-me-isn’t-level-and-therefore-I-am-going-to-settle-into-a-not-so-level-position-myself screwy walls and floors… In other words, things are just a little bit off.

The same thing applies to positioning furniture in-line with the ancient floor-boards. I once spent an entire Saturday morning trying to line my bed frame up with the floor boards, only to realize then that the accompanying area rug looked crooked. And the bedspread design, which is of course, vertical stripes wasn’t quite right.  Suffice it to say, I was glad no one was around to watch me obssessively ooch and scooch the bed (by degrees) this way and that… wondering where the fatal flaw was. Exasperated, I eventually just gave up.

I have done my best to hang, position and drape my décor in this not-so-perfect-but-full-of-character-house and adjust my concept of what “straight” really is. Usually I end up splitting the difference between the floor and ceiling with whatever piece I’ve chosen to be the “anchor” and try my best to ensure the surrounding pieces are as in-line with it as possible.

The same can be said of the people we choose to hang our “stuff” on in this life… our parents, our children, our friends, our spouses, our leaders. I mean, just like that 100-year-old house, no one is perfect. In fact, the very definition of the word “perfect” is: entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings. Now tell me… do you know ANY human being who fits that description? None of us have a perfectly straight, perfectly even, perfectly sound foundation. We all are loaded with flaws, defects and shortcomings.

So, when looking at those people who we deem to be the “anchors” in our lives, the absolute BEST we can ever really do is try and adjust our concept of what “perfect” really is by splitting the difference between expectation and reality. Recognize that those we love are not-so-perfect but full-of-character… And then do our best to ensure that the others we CHOOSE to surround ourselves with, are as in-line with us as possible in this less-than-perfect world.

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11 thoughts on “A Little Less Than Perfect

  1. Great analogy. I liked the concept that although we are not perfect, we have character just like an old imperfect house. When my family moved from a 150-year-old house to a brand new one, I hated it. The new one was cold to me but the old one had “warmth”.

  2. Great Post. I would rather be and surround myself with people of character and not perfection. Live life to the fullest and yes it may be messy but at least you can say you lived it and built character along the way!!!

    • Thank you Renee! I feel the same way. I may be a perfectionist, but I don’t think I expect it in others… only myself. It probably isn’t a fair thing to do, but oh well… it is something to work on.

  3. JT says:

    Wow so many thoughts stirred by this post, in retrospect how much stuff have other people hung on us? My house was built in 1880 so I can empathize, and being a builder by trade well…trying to remodel this old house I might just as well have thrown the level out the window 🙂 The best part is when we identify those that understand in a friendship of two un-perfect people that hanging our stuff on each other is a given, and that leads to a total acceptance of the screwy walls… That in my estimation gives a solid foundation for the frienship to stand on! Thoughtful and thought invoking post Joanna!

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