So what is perfect and why are we all trying so damned hard to achieve it?
Putting all spiritual discussion aside, let's just have an honest airing of a reality check. Not one of us currently walking this round ball called Earth is perfect. None. Not even that newborn over there, his screaming is bothering someone, hence - imperfect.
So, we tell children to "be themselves" and that it's ok "if everyone is different". (Aside: This does not hold true for primary education in America, unfortunately. With the standardized testing ruling the pocketbooks of the education administrators, everyone needs to be the same. Even if they aren't. Lying is encouraged. Learning, sadly, is not.)
Anyway, we feed out kids these lines then suddenly, about puberty, we start telling them they aren't good enough. They are doing it all wrong and if they don't change - they will be failures as adults and human beings. Mind you, two weeks prior we weren't declaring winners and losers at T-Ball because God forbid our kid be a loser.
Then we become young adults and go to college where we get the startling dose of reality that, Hey we are NOT all winners. You can (and probably are) a loser at something. Sometimes it's academia (more and more these days) and sometimes it's sports and sometimes it's social skills. Regardless, we suddenly think our parents were right and we are doing it all wrong.
We begin to buy self-help books, read deep philosophical texts and discuss politics like it's our job. Women start worrying about their bodies (which until now they've abused and used as collateral in the bargaining of life) and whether they are associating with the right kind of people for their future careers and families. Men start worrying about money and toys and having the biggest ones. (Strangely, this is much like little boys, so they don't change as much at first.)
Then at about 26 or so, regardless of where you are in life you suddenly have this epiphany. If you could just be perfect at everything you try (mind you, the main lesson here is - don't try everything), then you will have suceeded. We start climbing that corporate ladder like it leads to God. We bat our eyes and try to attract the person we deem to be the best of the best in the significant other pool. Men suddenly start wondering if they will be old fathers and around 30 decide they want a nice girl to settle down with, but they can't find any because they've trained themselves to look for bad girls (who in theory are more fun).
Women, having been involved with too many men looking for bad girls, give up playing the role. If they are married, they start really nesting or maybe decide it's time to add a career to being the perfect mother. (A lot of kids get lost in the shuffle here, sadly) Single women, who usually have a career by now, find themselves reluctant to be vulnerable to men (I might be projecting a bit here, but whatever...)
Regardless it all boils down to this underlying need to have it all, to be perfect, to get there first, fastest and with the most... everything.
The thing is, we miss so much on the way. We miss the best part of the ride. What's that? The part where you are happy - not content, not biding your time - but genuinely happy with where you are RIGHT NOW. Even if it's enroute to something more, less or different, this moment in time may be your last in all honesty and it should be your best.
I think that's what we miss. Instead of trying to be perfect, we should try to make the time we are in right now as perfect as it can be.
And I didn't even have to read a self-help book to get to that knowledge.
Note: The epiphany came when I was staring in the mirror trying to find something wrong with me. My hair was done and looked ok, my skin is clear, my curves (though generous) are in all the right places and were decently dressed. In all, I should have had no complaints and as I wasted 20 minutes trying to find some, it occurred to me that if I could just be happy for right now instead of worrying about an hour from now and the possibility that some stranger might see me and might see something wrong with me, I could go outside and enjoy the day instead of sitting inside staring at a piece of glass searching for faults. (Like that run on sentence, do ya?)