“I cling to my imperfection, as the very essence of my being.” - Anatole France
I often write my posts after midnight when the sounds of the house have died down and it’s just me and the deep night left awake. Quietude and serenity come out to play after midnight and before 6 am. This week has been different though. I’ve been writing during the hurly-burly of the middle of the day because…. I’ve been working on the tiny house and I’ve been too tired to sneak in my late night or early morning writing time.
So today I share with you a hurly-burly post about embracing setbacks, those monumental disappointments in life when things just don’t unfold the way you want them to. Setbacks happen with decluttering, when you “slip” and accidentally go on a lavish shopping spree only to discover you’ve bought as much junk in one day as you decluttered in the last month. Setbacks happen on the journey to simplify, when you realize you just booked yourself into a permanent outside obligation for the next six months and you’re plan of “family time Saturdays” got pushed down the priority list again.
But you know what they say about setbacks. Or maybe it’s what I say :), you gotta keep ramming your head against the wall, you gotta keep pushing towards your vision, you gotta fearlessly create what you want…. and eventually you WILL create your ideal version of reality, even if your ideal version of reality is sometimes a compromise from the original plan.
My setback of the week is a little thing known as drywall. Ours is finally done. The problem? Texture.
Super Bronson is really super, but he’s not super at drywall. He announced a while back that he couldn’t perform the miracle of a perfectly smooth wall. Unless we wanted five times the expense, we were looking at a compromise. Enter a little texture into our lives.
My dream walls were minimalist smooth wonders, floating above a floor with no baseboards. Reality said we’d be getting something more budget friendly. I hesitantly poured over online samples and local samples of textured walls. I finally settled on the lightest of knockdowns as the smoothest and least obtrusive finish.
Light knockdown, when done correctly, can bring a subtle energy to a wall that I learned to appreciate. Yes there would be some pattern, the bane of my existence, but it would be so subtle as to be almost invisible. I could compromise. I could learn to live with that.
With the decision made, Bronson textured our walls on Friday. The problem is his idea of light texture and my idea of light texture are in totally different stratospheres of existence. After Bronson worked his magic our tiny house looks like a Jackson Pollock painting on a bad day…. which for a minimalist is pretty damn frickin’ bad. :)
I’ve spent the weekend alternating between crying my red, gypsum dust-filled eyes out and sanding every square inch of wall and ceiling in an attempt to mitigate the damages.
But dwelling in a place of negativity never serves a person. You gotta rise above. So what am I doing? Well, I’m taking the action step of sanding. I’m also taking the action of learning to live with my new Jackson Pollock walls. I’m telling myself to release the quest for perfection and embrace a little wabi-sabi in my life.
WTF is wabi-sabi? Ah. I’m glad you asked.
“Wabi sabi acknowledges three things: nothing is perfect, nothing lasts, and nothing is finished.” – Richard Powell
Wabi-sabi is a Japanese art of appreciating the imperfections in an object, relishing the worn paint on a wall, marveling at the crack in an old wooden beam, accepting the chip in your favorite vase. It is discovering the imperfect perfectness of life.
To me it is also a mediation on life. Through life there are mountain peaks of ecstatic joy, there are sandstorms of pain, there are oceans of accomplishment, and quiet sunsets when life fades and you’re left with creaky knees. Life is wabi-sabi. Life is imperfect perfection. And so is my drywall. I will not pay someone else to strip it down and re-do it. I will live with my wabi-sabi walls. I will love my wabi-sabi walls. I will appreciate their lesson, beckoning me to release the vision of a “perfect” life and instead I will dance with joy in front of their splotchy facade.
Simple Living Challenge
This week, relax on one thing you’ve been trying to get perfect. Learn to accept it for how it is.
What Says You?
What have you been railing against in your life? Where have you been pushing against the tide, refusing to give up a vision of perfection? Is it worth the fight to get it perfect? Or will a little wabi-sabi serve you better?