You know that article entitled, How To Find the Ultimate Happiness, that exists in most magazines in one form or another? Whether we read the whole thing or not; isn’t there just a slight glimmer of hope that that article may contain the secret to the change in our lives to make everything just perfect? I began to read one of those articles today when I realized that I was literally turning to my morning tea and magazine ritual to complete my life. Is there really such thing as absolute perfection and if there is, are we willing to forgo the journey that took us there? It is on that expedition to the ultimate happiness that allows us to make our mistakes, indulge in a few blunders and prioritize what matters and what shouldn’t. We will forever be one, or more, steps from an unflawed life and that is actually a good thing. I now envision perfection as an alluring piece of chocolate cake that each time we prepare to dig our fork into, gets yanked just slightly out of reach. This is not an announcement that I am not happy. I have it pretty darn good as a matter of fact, but life does not come without problems; without a little tsuarus , as my people say. It is natural, I suppose, to hope for a little bit more. Does anyone ever pass on his or her wishing star? Can anyone truly believe that there is perfection in other people’s lives when we can never completely know what goes on behind closed doors? Perfect just doesn’t exist and maybe that, in itself, is what makes life’s lessons part of the precision of developing ultimate happiness. Yet, and finally, I have reached my big point: why have we become a generation of parents that try so hard to give our children what we think will provide them with the ultimate happiness? In doing so are we denying them opportunity to sincerely value what they have or could have?
All this got me thinking about the advice I dole out to my children with great optimism that if only they would listen to me, they will never have to suffer through snags I have already navigated. While it’s true that I wish I had done a better job teaching my kids to stick to a budget, let’s say; I wonder if a hungry weekend, as opposed to my lectures, may teach them to financially plan better between paydays. Or when they choose to ignore me when I tell them to check the weather before leaving without an umbrella, couldn’t walking home in the rain be the cure? As a mother (worrier in my case, as well) we tend to want to fix it all. I am as guilty of this as any other parent. Heck, it would be so much easier to find my children just the right spouses so we could all be happy, but then they would miss out on the heartbreaks and highs that new love brings. And as for that umbrella; sometimes a walk in the rain is just what we need. How could I take that away from them? If we give them everything right from the beginning, will they appreciate what they have later or just expect the gravy train to keep chugging? Won’t that create a generation of parent-reliant adults? How happy could those people be? Why would I wish perfect lives on my children and eliminate the courageous leaps that they have to take to find their way to nearly perfect.
This being said, I just cleaned up the kitchen, because “she had so much homework.” I am not naïve enough to believe that in an hour that homework will have somehow gotten finished much faster than she anticipated, but I am a mother with a swollen heart when it comes to my kids. I have got to toughen up; for their both our sakes. And as for the chocolate cake; I am actually pretty happy nibbling on the crumbs each tug leaves behind. Clearly perfect just doesn’t exist and maybe that, in itself, is what makes life’s lessons and the pursuit of happiness the real perfect.