“It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint Exupéry
We shy away from using the word “perfection,” given its meaning of flawlessness. Yet it’s an inspiring word, summoning the highest of aspirations. Unattainable perhaps? Not if we revise the definition.
When our young son believed in the magic of movies (still does at age 25), he and I agreed on a new category of evaluation: perfection. After analyzing a movie if we conclude nothing — not the script, director, actors, cinematography or musical score — needs to change, we award the movie the distinction of perfection. Since we evaluate movies equally, regardless of their genre, romantic comedies rate alongside serious dramas. For example, we deem Love Actually and Tootsie as perfect as Apollo 13 and Lawrence of Arabia.
Now I apply this category to my days. After a morning walk, I may spend time on my computer, run a few errands, play doubles tennis with amiable partners, chat with Glen during happy hour, work with him on a mammoth crossword puzzle while preparing our evening meal, and watch an episode of a TV series. No matter how ordinary the day, if I wish to change nothing about it, I’ve experienced perfection.
In my sunset years, I aspire to live scores of perfect days. We cannot help but feel pleasure in attaining perfection. •