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Emmerich: Embrace Imperfection as the Natural State of Being

Just for your convenience, here are the top ten New Year’s Resolutions according to some internet sites:

Exercise more
Lose weight
Get organized
Learn a new skill or hobby
Live life to the fullest
Save more money / spend less money
Quit smoking
Spend more time with family and friends
Travel more
Read more

If you are intimidated by the challenge, chill. Only about ten percent of us manage to keep our resolutions. But it’s worth a try anyway.

This year I have a new one. Embrace imperfection as the natural state of being. And, if possible, see the good in imperfection.

We all know how it’s supposed to be, right? We know how we are supposed to act, what we are supposed to do, how we should behave. That’s the easy part. The hard part is actually doing it.

This can lead to frustration with yourself. Frustration with others. Frustration with life. Frustration with God. Frustration is no good.

So my new approach is to end the frustration by accepting imperfection as perfectly natural. In fact, be wary of perfection. When you see it, something’s not quite right and bad things will result.

In fact, the time to be nervous is when things are going too well. That means trouble is around the corner. The time to relax is when things are really going bad. That means improvement is coming.

Here’s another example: Dirty clothes on my bathroom floor. The old me would get irritated. “Can’t y’all pick up after yourselves,” I would scream, “I am not your maid.”

But the new me (after January 1) will take a completely different approach. When I see the clothes on the floor, I think “Isn’t it wonderful that I have these beautiful women in my life. And they feel so intimate with me that they think nothing of throwing their various clothing items on my bathroom floor!”

So let’s say I have gone weeks without raising my voice or getting mad in any way. Instead of thinking that I have finally conquered self control (a complete illusion setting me up for disappointment) instead I think. “What’s wrong with me? This good behavior is abnormal. I wonder why I haven’t lost it in so long?”

This takes the pressure off, relaxing me further, which leads to better results. And then when I do lose it, I don’t beat myself up about it because imperfection is the natural state of things.

Same is true with others. If Ginny has been on her best behavior for an extended period of time, now my reaction is concern. Something’s not right. People are suppose to mess up. And when she invariably does, then I feel relieved that I am not married to a perfect robot but a normal imperfect human being.

By the way, this works really well with children and, for that matter, all relatives and in-laws.

I drive two old cars: A 1965 poppy red Ford Mustang and a 1985 Alfa Romeo. These cars help me embrace imperfection because something is always broken or breaking. If I tried to make these cars perfect, I would go nuts and broke.
Instead, I’ll think. “That’s strange. I haven’t had to take the stang into the shop for several months.” So when I turn the key and the starter sounds like it is falling apart, my reaction is calm confirmation of imperfection rather than anger and frustration.

A few year’s back, I had one of those rare years in business where everything went right at once. “I’ve finally made it!” I thought. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I just set myself up for a fall. Sure enough, all the up arrows started turning down. I am went from one extreme to the other. I learned a lesson important lesson, especially for me since I happen to be a natural optimist.

Expectation of imperfection is not the same as pessimism. I am as optimistic as ever. The difference is factoring in the natural state of things as a template for your optimism.

Acceptance of imperfection is Biblical. We had perfection in the Garden of Eden, but we screwed up by eating the apple. We couldn’t leave well enough alone. So we are all death-destined sinners. Thanks be for Jesus!

After 30 years of vigorous singles tennis, my sore body told me to take up golf, which was my childhood sport. I’m enjoying reconnecting with this great game.

For one thing, some of the most beautiful places in any city are the golf courses. They are like beautiful parks. If you don’t play golf, you miss all this beauty.

Golf is a demanding sport. That natural reaction is to get frustrated. Many people end up hating the sport.
I think golf has helped me reinforce the concept of natural imperfection. To hit a golf ball correctly, you must swing almost perfectly. Hardly anybody can do that. So, for us amateurs, golf is all about dealing with imperfection and still having a good time.

You’ve heard of the clothing line “Salt Life?” It celebrates this perfect life of sun, sand, wind and salt. Right. What about the seaweed and jellyfish?

So here’s how I’m going to get rich. I’ve got my own idea for a clothing line. Bogey Life.

In golf, you want to make par. But par is hard. Usually you screw up at least one shot. Then you make a bogey.
Who wants a par life? It’s too hard. Too much pressure. Instead, celebrate the bogey as the natural order of things. Thus, my new clothing line Bogey Life. I’m thinking the logo will be a plus one sign symbolizing the one stroke you screw up.

I’m going to start in pro shops and such. But I think this will explode nationwide. Anyone interested in investing, please email me. I can see Bogey Life hats, shirts, ties, coolers. We could expand to Double Bogey Life, Triple Bogey Life. The possibilities are endless.

So that’s my New Year’s Resolution: To live breath and embrace the beautiful natural state of imperfection. The Bogey Life!

Wyatt Emmerich is the publisher of The Northside Sun

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