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Obsession with Perfection

It was a lovely fall afternoon and I was visiting some of my friends out in Lake Geneva, located by the border of Illinois and Wisconsin. My friends have a beautiful house and property. I was just getting back into the house after eating breakfast when my friend asked, “Would you like to fire off my gun?”. I thought about it once and then said “yes!”. I was proud of myself for taking a moment to think. I have a tendency to say yes to adventurous and dangerous situations too quickly. Before I knew it, I was in the backyard holding a pistol. I listened to my friend as he gave me directions on how to load and fire the shiny silver thing in my hand. There was no doubt that this weapon could kill someone. He pointed to a small orange marker in the grass, a few yards ahead of me. Apparently I was supposed to aim at the marker and fire at it. With the bullet. With the gun. Ha! Can I just tell you I fired off his gun multiple times and did not hit the small orange thing in the grass? I missed the mark. Now I didn’t hit a human, I didn’t hit the mark, but I did hit the grass. If that was my goal I accomplished it. Sometimes your goal is just too impossible to hit and you have to point at something bigger than yourself.

When I first started to think about blogging I wanted to call my blog “A Hot Mess” or “A Messy Mess” or something to this affect. I wanted to do this mostly because I was really tired of seeing everyone’s perfect life on Instagram. I wanted to share something real. Instead I started writing about a “full life”, living life large and not limiting yourself to life’s circumstances. Saying yes to crazy things like firing a pistol for the first time. I want to inspire. Inspiration requires pointing out reality, but choosing to move forward. Do more. The reality is, our lives are not and never will be perfect, but for some reason we still strive to reach this impossible goal.

Since 2005 until now, young adults from 18-25 who use social networking have increased 81%. The increase in social media use has to do with how many media platforms are now available. I like call my generation, the millennial generation, as the “image generation”. We were the first to use Facebook in high school, posting every picture we took on our digital cameras. None of us touched twitter until now and probably still haven’t, because let’s be real, we really have nothing super great to say. Just look at a picture… I am happy enough. In college, our parents bought us our first iPhone, allowing Instagram to be the way others peaked into the window of our lives. With images becoming our way of communication, appearance and looking a certain way has become progressively more important. Looking “on fleak” in a photo has become the goal.

Yesterday, I watched a YouTube video about a poor 19 year old girl. Her face was tired and sad. She looked like life was weighing on her like a ton of bricks. This was not because she did not go through her perfected makeup routine that day. Essence O’Neill had everything, however, she was miserable. She had 250,000 YouTube followers and 500,000 Instagram followers. She was sponsored by many modeling companies, which was a dream of hers since age 12. She admits in her last ever YouTube video that all of her “picture perfect” IG posts were staged and that she hid behind a screen for three years. Other Instagram, blogger, and YouTube “professionals” may not feel this way, but there is something to learn from Essence. Could it be that the goal of personal perfection is too small of a goal? It could be done and much easier to achieve, however, if the goal is to be real, getting beyond yourself and maybe selflessly connecting with others. The action of inspiring, involves others. If you want to inspire you have to get beyond yourself and set your goals larger than your own life.

I could only hit the grass with my bullet shot. If grass was my goal, I hit my target. If you are tired of trying to hit the mark, join me and inspire. I promise the goal is not as hard as you think it may be. You may only have to point down. Take a humility pill. Make your target bigger than yourself and inspire others.