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Is Lifestyle Design A Manifestation of Perfectionism In Disguise? A Self-Reflection

In: Life,

They say that the grass is always greener on the other side.

Normally, I’d refute this, proclaim it an illusion, and instead promote some other tired, overused, pink, frilly powder puff version of  “seize the day,” “be grateful for what you have,” or, my personal favorite, “stop being a greedy, selfish, money-grubbing bitch.

Normally, that is.

Today, however, I find myself on the verge of reluctant agreement with my green, grassy, psychological nemesis, wondering if, perhaps, the grass will always be greener on the other side–on the playing field that is our minds.

There seems to never arrive the point in which we actually take a deep breath and say, “Ah, there. NOW I’m entirely happy with everything in my life, including that weird mole that appeared on my arm, and–you know what?–I don’t want any other grass on any other side.  Mine is just perfect the way it is.”

Or, is it the case that, in the quest for self-development, the grass will never be as green as we want it to be?  Better phrased:  Will we forever be engaged in an (elusive?) battle to be…more? Better?  Greener?  More luscious?

Now for the twist:  Are we even seeking to be more, or could it be the case that we’re helplessly engaged in a fool’s battle with the never-ending challenge that being more presents?  Relative to lifestyle design, are we truly involved in it for the potential end reward, or is it possible that we’re involved because it provides yet another challenge to manhandle?

… Are we nothing more than mere adrenaline junkies?

Then again, there are moments, too, when lifestyle design is appealing for exactly what it promises:  The ownership of your own time. (Ironic that we must repossess ownership over something that is inherently ours in the first place, but that’s another story.)   Regrettably, horizontal stripes & handcuffs aren’t all that becoming on me. Neither is the black cloak of guilt that comes as a free bonus, as a special thank you for shopping with the Western world.

My mind then ricochets to a new thought, one that is mildly disturbing, yet reverberating with potential truth:  Could it be that, ironically enough, it’s us who are the ones taking life much too seriously?  Could it be that we are so hypersensitive of life’s delicate, volatile ways, that we’re desperately trying to cling to whatever fleeting moments we’ve been granted, like a fledgling attempt at capturing a minnow by repeatedly cupping our hands in the water?  Do we take life too seriously in the sense that we’re obsessed with getting it right, and making every moment count?  Are we over doing it? Is it even possible to over do life?

Perhaps we are the ultimate perfectionists, radically aiming for perfection in life, by constantly trying to ensure perpetual happiness.  Constantly trying to ensure the best of the best, as we define it, anyway, never accepting mediocrity in its place.  This, too, makes us furrow our brow because it flies in the face of our otherwise free-spirited demeanor–but in a strange way that opposes our unrestrained, fancy-free ways by simultaneously defending them. We are perfectionists about being carefree.

We’ve got this overwhelming desire to make this one, precious life so absolutely perfect – so absolutely wonderful, so absolutely right – so that it truly represents and, more importantly, feels like the life that we would like to live, that it seems as if our endeavors in lifestyle design could be a heavy nod to just that:  Large-scale perfectionism.

Is it perfectionism?

Is it the product of a time-based society, in which we are acutely, painfully aware of every passing minute?

Is it some character flaw of our own?

Or could it simply be a function of human nature?

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47 thoughts on "Is Lifestyle Design A Manifestation of Perfectionism In Disguise? A Self-Reflection"

  1. TMFproject says:

    I've been heavily labeled as a “Gen Y blogger,” so if that's the case, then I suppose it'd be likely I'd have a Gen Y following. That said, I think that the technology curve also plays a part. How many “mature adults” are following blogs compared to young adults? Furthermore, only 18.3% of my total subscribers have email subscriptions; the remainder are subscribed via RSS. I would argue that many non-blogging individuals don't know about RSS feeds, or, if they do, don't utilize them. Therefore, I'm guessing that a majority of my readers are writers and bloggers themselves.

    I certainly don't think that 35 year olds and above are at a point where they've already figured it out or gave up – I'd guess that it's a generational thing that is being defined by technology and where you stand on the savvy continuum.

  2. Karina says:

    Definitely don't have all the answers – but here are a few thoughts:
    For me, the purpose of “lifestyle design” is simply to be mindful about the way we are living, in every way, and not just zombie-walking through life at all moments besides those “BIG” ones. Though I suppose there is such a thing as being hyper-concious of the way you are living, the beautiful part of designing your life is that you take the reins for things you can control: your job, your attitude, your relationships, etc … with the knowledge that once you're living the way you want to live, the out-of-our-control stuff will just fall into place, or at least not suck so much. But I'd argue that absolute contentment should not even be the goal – because then what? Its the constant searching, pulling and pushing that brings us our greatest achievements, and ultimately our greatest pleasures, even if its agonizing in between.

    1. TMFproject says:

      Such a salient point you make, Karina–“it's the constant searching, pulling and pushing…” Isn't that the biggest catch 22 ever? You can have contentment, but you've got to fight like hell for it first to really appreciate it. Also–I think that so many people are just kind of moving through life hoping that it's the best path, so it's difficult to be certain that they're living the way that they want…your point is excellent in that it's probably a better idea to do the opposite, and ascertain the way that you want to live, and then align your life with that path instead. Thanks so much for stopping by with your thoughts!