Don’t torture yourself trying to be perfect

For the first time in more than a year, my husband and I had dinner out at a restaurant.

It was fun and I think we were both a little giddy when we decided on the spur of the moment to go to one of our favorite places in Detroit.

There are no booths in this restaurant, so my husband set his LVAD in a chair next to him. He got comfortable and then we both looked at the menu.

My husband is so used to eating healthy food, he was kind of thrown for a loop.  He wanted the fried chicken or pork chops, and he wanted clam chowder. And he asked me what I thought.

And I said – order it.  Order what you want. I discouraged the pork chops because I knew I was going to cook some later in the week. But otherwise, I wasn’t going to yell at him about the fried, salty, beckoning food.


Last night I saw Michael Jackson on television singing during his 30th anniversary special, which first aired 12 years ago. There were singers paying tribute to his songs, he sang with his brothers and then he put on an electrifying show of his own.  Jackson was such a fine entertainer, and no matter what you thought of him, he could sing and he could dance like nobody else in his generation.

Jackson was also a tortured soul.  His children were a constant source of controversy for the public. He also took drugs to keep him painlessly making those fancy moves that entertained people like me who foolishly expected to see them even as he entered his 50s.

He wanted to be perfect. He was tortured and he paid for it.  Was his death worth all the turmoil he went through? I don’t think it was. We expected a lot from him. We expected that electrifying performance every time we saw him.

When my husband asked me about ordering the fried chicken and the clam chowder, I said, order it.  Why? Because one time is not going to be the end of the world.  Even my doctor told me I don’t have to always give up fried food; I just can’t eat it everyday.

So he ordered it and enjoyed it. And now he’s over the fried thing, and we’re back to normal, healthy food again after a night of eating what we wanted to eat. (And by the way, I actually wanted to eat the broiled pickerel and asparagus and a salad. I ate them and didn’t even miss the richer fried lake perch that I usually order. Yipee!)

The lesson for me is don’t torture yourself trying to be perfect.  No one is going to get it right all the time. And if you think you can, consider the binges you suffered because you didn’t allow yourself a small amount when you really wanted it.  Regular readers of this blog know I’ve suffered from plenty of those, so I’m really working to not deprive myself. Deprivation only forces me into a situation where I’m so tortured that I do something totally stupid or unhealthy. There is no such thing as perfection:  only consistency over a long period of time.  Working hard for something should not be torture.

It should be rewarding.

The hostas are in the back corner; the stumps are in the center right of the photo.

The hostas are in the back corner; the stumps are in the center right of the photo.

P.S. Those of you who read last week’s post might be wondering if the hostas made it when the trees were taken out. They did!

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