All my life I have been searching for something desirable and close to me, yet unreachable. It has constantly been at the edge of my grasp, but I am slowly realizing that I may never be able to reach out and touch it. Just like me, I believe that people innately struggle for perfection, but can never achieve it. It seems like no more than a myth.
In my years, I have gained more knowledge about the world around me than I really wanted. But my experiences have taught me that no matter how much I practice, no matter how many lessons I take, no matter what advice is given to me, I cannot fit that model of flawlessness. I have pursued many interests throughout my life, none of which have fully panned out. There has been a seemingly unfulfilled desire to achieve more, to be that next name everyone remembers. Just like those in time before me, everyone has struggled to accomplish the most and to be the best. Achilles, for example, was supposedly invincible, but his desire for perfection and glory ended in his death. I feel as if there is no way for me to become that perfect person. Even Plato acknowledged that perfection existed only in our minds – in something he called the ‘ideal realm of forms and ideas.’
In my persistence, however, I have come to concede there is a certain futility in constantly vying for prominence in all that I do. I realized there’s not reality in perfection, and that while it is unattainable, it’s still entirely worth aiming for. By setting high standards for myself, I can forever follow my dreams. But I believe now that the act of perseverance is far more important than the realization of perfection. Nonetheless, it seems no one will ever be able to know that sense of complete and total accomplishment.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.