Settling for less-than-perfect.

I’m somewhat of an idealist. I tend to view the world as it should be. I get my hopes and expectations up and, more often than not, I see them crumble down around me. This is how I’ve operated for years. I’m sure it started when my parents separated, when life took a turn for the worse and I was left in the dust trying to figure things out…doesn’t everything stem from childhood? At least that’s when I started seeing this pattern of thought play-out time and again. Something exciting was coming-up (birthday, Christmas, party, anything) and I would go over and over in my mind how it should be and how I would be happiest if this, this and that were to take place. The event would pass by without anything that I’d imagine having taken place and I would be left with a gaping hole of disappointment in my heart. Even though this happened for years it wasn’t until a little while ago that I realized this about myself. Now I try to curb the expectations with a healthy dose of reality…but it’s hard.

When I think about how much time and energy I was spending on trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life after the kids are were in school I’m pretty sure that it came from this place, a place of a romanticized vision of my life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to dream…and have BIG dreams. You don’t want to limit yourself in any way, but there’s a balance between having lofty goals and living within your means and abilities. I think that I felt (feel) pressure to immediately succeed and that my idea of success is easily influenced by others. I was telling myself that in order to succeed I needed to find the perfect job that pays the perfect amount that has the perfect title that allows me to use every scrap of my creativity while simultaneously fixing the world. Sound familiar? I know I’m not the only one!

A few weeks ago I learnt that a daycare spot had opened-up for Amelia. I was excited and nervous because that meant I could now start my search for a part-time job. My availability is rather limited so I was doubtful that people were going to even consider hiring me. The first place that popped into my mind was a clothing store at a nearby mall. I hadn’t really thought of working there before because, I’m just going to be 100% honest with you, I looked at mall jobs as…well, low-end. “I’m better than that“, I told myself. Oi. That sounds horrible. But the truth is, I’m not “better” than that (And who defines what’s better? If the person is happy at that job, isn’t that the best thing?).  I’m not educated. I don’t have a degree. I’m only looking for something part-time. I’m not looking to start a career or go back to school right now. When I broke it all down and removed my inner idealist, a mall job was the less-than-perfect perfect!

I called the manager at the store and asked her if she was hiring. She was! They were looking for someone who could work Monday to Friday, part-time, starting at 10am and ending around 2 or 3pm. MY. EXACT. HOURS (Praise God!)! Well, I’m sure that you can see how this pans out. I got the job and I start at the end of this week. I’m actually excited…and why shouldnt I be? I love clothing and fashion. I love working with people. I love customer service. It’s a bright, clean, organized store. Who knows? Maybe this will lead to bigger things!

I learned a really important lesson through all of this: I need to settle for less-than-perfect more often. I get so hung-up of having things turn-out the way that I want them to that I miss so many of life’s random (or not-so-random) surprises. I forget to be thankful for life’s many blessings. I also learned that ‘Sometimes you just have to try‘ goes hand-in-hand with sometimes you just have to ask! When I stepped outside my comfort zone and called the manager she could have easily said no, or she could have easily trashed my resume (considering I haven’t worked in 6.5 years). I would have just been left in the same place I started, no big deal, but this time it worked out and paid-off!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Settling for less-than-perfect.

  1. I don’t even see this as settling. You have found a great spot to be in. To take a job that you’d like doing and it fits in the larger context of your life is fantastic as opposed to having your life mangle into order to fit in a job that you hope will bring meaning (which it won’t anyways). I’m happy for you.

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