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Perfection

My littlest love asked me to play a game with her. I made my way to sit on the ground while she studied the board games. She picked up Perfection and sat beside me.

Perfection is a cute little game where you have sixty seconds in which you must fit various little shapes into their respective slots before the timer runs out and the tiny shapes are catapulted off of the board.

Not the best choice of game if you are a friend to fear like me.

We set the timer and started to play. Instinctively, I entered game mode and feverishly began to match the little shapes into their slots. I felt the adrenaline begin to surge as the ticking of the timer accelerated my breath.

All of a sudden, there was a loud BAM! and the tiny pieces went flying all over the floor around us. The time had run out.

That wasn’t good enough for me. We had to move faster. We had to beat the timer. We had to win.

Clearly, I was the only one who was getting all hot and bothered by the mess. My littlest love cackled with delight and shouted, “Again!”.

We set the timer and started over. I set about pushing faster and faster, determined to beat the clock this time. But then I looked up and saw that my littlest love was taking her sweet time, carefully selecting the shape she wanted to fit and thoughtfully examining the board to see where it might go.

Of course, after a little while… BAM! … the pieces went flying again. Just as I was about to hold a strategy meeting, my littlest love exclaimed, “This so fun, mummy!” and then she let out the biggest belly laugh.

The lesson was right there in the laugh.

My nature was to rush. My nature was to scramble. My nature was to win. To beat the clock. To attain perfection.

And yes, that’s the point of the game. But there’s so much more to the game than that.

The aim was to beat the clock, but the fun was in watching the pieces fly.

The aim was to organise the shapes perfectly, but the fun was in the haphazard attempts to find what worked and what didn’t.

Perfection may have been the goal, but the imperfect beauty of it all was the point.

I wonder if, by scrambling to beat some imagined time line, by striving to have every detail perfectly arranged, and by believing that we must move faster and push harder, we somehow miss the point of it all. By focusing only on perfection, we miss the fun that is inherent in the moment. We miss the laughter that comes with flying pieces. We miss the experience of exploring what fits.

We managed to beat the timer on one of our many tries, but it wasn’t as much fun. Yes, we attained perfection, but at the expense of taking our time and laughing at our many failed attempts to fit each piece. Once perfection was attained, we had to sit there after our high fives and watch the timer continue to tick. It felt good to beat the clock, but there was no scandalous laughter…that is, until the timer ran out, and then… BAM!

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