Speed Bumps and The Imperfection of Life


The Woodpecker Might Have to Go!Today is a Snow Day. 

One of those days you loved as a kid but tend to dread as an adult.  With our increasingly busy days it can be just one more unexpected complication.  One that can frustrate us quite a bit. 

In the midst of rescheduling phone calls, juggling work schedules, and rearranging my day, it crossed my mind that maybe this is one of those Life Lessons that I should be paying attention to. 

I could view today with a Half Full (or Quarter Full) view, focusing on the challenges and frustrations it brings.  Or, I could look at as an unexpected opportunity.

We get so busy that it often seems like there isn’t enough time in the week to spend good, quality time my kids.  Couldn’t I think about this as an expected opportunity to spend time with them?

So I decided to view today’s Snow Day as a Speed Bump on the Road of Life.  Speed bumps are reminders not to go to fast, to slow down.  I decided that I could change the way I viewed today and think of Snow Days as Play Days with the kids instead.  I might not be able to play all day (darn it), but I can engage with them for at least part of the day.  

My mental metaphor of a speed bump was going along pretty well and then I got an unexpected second dose of life’s imperfections.

It appears that for the past two weeks, any voice message left on my work phone went into “limbo land.”  This is not the only technical glitch I’ve seen this month.  I know that emails I been sending to at least one individual had not arrived.  Whether they were lost in the outbound stream from me or lost in his inbound stream we don’t know.  I only know that I’m glad I chose to follow up a third time just to be sure we had closed the loop. 

I could have gotten angry about the missed VM, but really, what’s the point.  It won’t change history.  It’s an uncontrollable situation like the Snow Day.  What I can (and did) do is follow up where necessary and explain.  No, it’s not the same as the “my dog ate my homework,” excuse.  It’s simply a fact of our technology dependent communications.  Technology breaks down.  It doesn’t always work.

This was a good reminder for me that just because I hit send or left a message that does not mean it was received.  Too often of late, I’ve observed individuals getting frustrated with one another when there is incomplete knowledge of a situation.  It’s all back to expectations.  Are we expecting perfection and perfect knowledge or do we recognize and adjust to life’s challenges and the speed bumps along the way?

When things go wrong with technology, I find myself using the metaphor of Gremlins visiting.  I don’t know what happened, it simply is.  It was outside of my control. 

What I can control is my response.  Am I going to let those speed bumps annoy and frustrate me?  Or might I ask myself to consider whether those speed bumps might serve some greater purpose?

My epiphany for today was that Life is not about Perfection, it’s about Imperfection. 

We talk about taking the time to dance, finding the joy in the moment, the beauty in a sunrise.  We often tell, share, or repeat a myriad of these little life lessons.  But do we value and live by these lessons all the time or only when we have time for them?  Might that be why life sends us speed bumps?  A reminders to “stop and smell the roses”?

A piece of humor a friend sent yesterday ended with  “Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile.”

While I “received” the message yesterday and did enjoy, I think that today I truly “got it.”  I need to do these activities even more than I already do.  More importantly, I need to do them when presented with days full of speed bumps, not just on days with smooth sailing. 

Life is about Imperfection not Perfection. 

I need to share the joy of imperfections, laughing along the road of life.  Living in the moment, as best as I can.  After all,  no one is perfect.  Every minute I spend in anger is a minute I did not spend in joy.   

Here’s to the imperfection in all of us.  To finding ways to enjoy them, rather than being frustrated by them.  May you live, love, and laugh often.  Preferably all the time, rather than just when it’s convenient.

Oh, by the way, the dog has actually eaten the homework in our house.  Along with toys, glasses, a wallet etc.  As I sit here and type, I am reminded that I am looking through dog scratches on my lenses.  I can either choose to focus on them, which is quite distracting, or I can choose to try and ignore them.  I’ve found that if ignore them for a few minutes, I can typically read “past” them.  The eyes and brain make adjustments.  The glasses aren’t perfect, but they are good enough.   That, I decided was another of life’s lessons. 

You can choose to look past the imperfections and still see with clarity.


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