Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Thursday, 25 October 2012

{quotable thursdays}

Well, hello there!
{via what we should call art history}

A little bit of advice for today...
"Peace comes when we have learned to accept, not so much with resignation as with a dutiful response to reality, the evil we confront as part of our nature. We no longer hate ourselves for being what we are; we no longer blaspheme because we have been created just so and not otherwise; we are no longer in revolt, with an insolent egoism, against our own imperfection. We are content, in a word, to be men and not God"
              -VICTOR GOLLANCZ (1893-1967)

This comes from a little book of quotes my sister, Christina, bought me when I was in undergrad. There's a quote for everyday of the year, and I read it religiously right before I go to bed.
There's loads of food for thought here... Here's what I took from it:
For one, it gives us liberty not to seek to be perfect, but to find our human best. That's not to say that we should aim for mediocre but rather, that we should not be discouraged when we don't reach divine perfection, but merely mortal excellence.
Secondly, if I've learned anything in my 30 years, it's that we must prioritize. Think of the things you want to excel at, and make sure you try hard & seek perfection there. Then, the things that matter less, try to do them always with your very best, but don't worry if they don't meet all your expectations. We can't be perfect at everything, and there's not enough time in the day to do everything always 100%. I wish I could host lovely dinner parties with individual place names, hand-written or printed invites, with everything home made down to the bread, rather than sending out an email or evite, cobbling together mismatched chairs and utensils etc...but my job isn't being a socialite but an academic. I find it hard enough to balance teaching & writing/researching...but then should I not have a social life because I can't host a *perfect* dinner party? If it's an occasion that counts, I will make it as wonderful as I can...but settling for good enough isn't always a terrible thing. Especially if you are exceeding expectations in other aspects of your life.
Thirdly, just because you're not very good at something doesn't mean you shouldn't try to be better at it. Or if you find it difficult, it's not a sign to give up. we should learn "to accept, not so much with resignation as with a dutiful response to reality", in Gollancz' words. There's a balance to life: realising we're not perfect at something and accepting it, is not the same thing as just giving up when we don't meet expectations. Practice does make perfect, most of the time.
In an example by Austen from Pride & Prejudice :
"I certainly have not the talent which some people possess," said Darcy, "of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done."
"My fingers," said Elizabeth [at the pianoforte], "do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women's do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault because I would not take the trouble of practising. It is not that I do not believe my  fingers as capable as any other woman's of superior execution."
{via the period movie review}

So do try to do your best, but don't expect everything to be perfect in your life. and certainly you should expect mess-ups along the way. Our failures are the things we learn from...and sometimes mistakes bring us down a new path...one that might just be a better path than the one we had planned on.
Happy Thursday,

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