Perfection and Contentment

“I’m never satisfied.”

It’s not just a line from Hamilton. It is also true for me. “I’ve never been satisfied.” Something in me is always reaching for more, more, more. Sometimes “more” means it is reaching for something different, and sometimes it is reaching for something better. But it always means that I am constantly on the lookout for the next thing.

It is truly a gift to be able to be content with what one has. If I, for one moment, could be satisfied with my life, with my situation, I would know a small peace. Peace and contentment are what I long for most, I think, and they are what most eludes me.

But there are benefits to a lack of satisfaction. It means I am always striving to better myself, whether by learning, gaining experience, or anything else. I always want more – more knowledge, more experience, more practice, etc. It means that I am always improving not only myself, but the things I create. I’ve never gotten further than fifty pages in writing a novel because I am given to editing and re-editing much too early in the process.

Discontent can mean perfection, or, more often, for me, it means perfectionism. Perfectionism isn’t great because when something is nowhere near the arbitrary par one has set for oneself, one (when one is me) tends toward giving up instead of realizing that not everything can be wonderful, and often things are the opposite of wonderful, at the outset. I’d be more content if I realized this fact, and let myself be bad at things without giving up on them entirely without trying more than once.

I need to be productive. I am a human being, and all human beings have that need – the need to feel as though they matter to something, someone. But I also need to learn to let go. Let go and let things fall as they will.

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