Liz Lemon: Listen up, everyone. I have an announcement to make. As you may have heard, Carol and I broke up last week.

Jenna: Hang on. Why do you have a cat? And a fanny pack? And your ponytail! It’s being held up by a chip clip!

Liz Lemon: …I am making my graceful transition into spinsterhood. I have adopted this cat. Named her Emily Dickinson…

Jack: Lemon, a word. Hang on. Recent break-up, fanny pack, cat . . . Quick! Who is the lead character on NCIS?

Liz Lemon: Special Agent Jethro Gibbs.

Jack: In your office now.

When I watched the “It’s Never Too Late for Now” episode of 30 Rock, one of the storylines really hit home. Though I am highly entertained by every episode of this show (“I want to go to there.”), it typically falls solidly into the category of ridiculous rather than the inspirational.

But though I laughed at Liz Lemon’s fanny pack and chip hair clip, I couldn’t help but notice the parallel with what I’ve been thinking about a lot: Giving up on perfect is not the same as giving up.

(And being an NCIS fan is not the same as being a spinster, but – as you know – that’s another post for another time.)

The idea of giving up on perfect began as a reminder – no, an appeal – to give myself a break.

I remember being just five years old, sitting in the bathroom asking my mom, “Did you or dad ever flunk a grade? No? But what if I do???”

Even at that young age, I was putting pressure on myself to be the best. I was terrified of failing, of letting anyone down, of learning that I wasn’t good enough. And so, a perfectionist was born.

In the past few years, my husband’s decidedly Type B personality and pretty clear evidence that aiming for perfection wasn’t working began convincing me, finally, that maybe being a perfectionist wasn’t such a desirable trait. Since then, I’ve been stumbling along, trying to figure out what, exactly, giving up on perfect really means for my life.

I’m still on that journey, but recently I’ve been thinking about what giving up on perfect doesn’t mean for me.

Giving up on perfect is not deciding that if I can’t get my house white-glove clean, I’m not going to bother with even the most basic of bathroom sanitation. (Hypothetically speaking, of course.)

Giving up on perfect is not ending a day of diet missteps with a bag of chips, because I might as well.

Giving up on perfect is not resorting to yelling and harsh punishments after a long day of preschooler tantrums, because clearly I’m incapable of implementing even one of the tips I heard from that speaker at MOPS. (Again, just an example.)

And giving up on perfect is most definitely not buying Christmas presents and a winter wardrobe with my “plastic money” because it’s not like my credit could get any worse at this point, could it? (Sadly, a real-life story.)

Giving up on perfect isn’t about giving up, not even trying if you can’t be the absolute best. It’s about being and doing my best and letting the rest of it go.

Before I turn into Spinster Liz (because, let’s face it: with the cats and NCIS already in the picture, I’m basically just one fanny pack away), I’m going to really dive into this distinction. I hope you’ll join me in figuring out not just what giving up on perfect isn’t, but what it IS.

What does giving up on perfect mean to you?

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