6/19/17, A Perfect Life
I hope your life is running smoothly, and that you’re looking forward to summer plans that will be fun for you. I’m looking forward to a vacation with my children in July, and a long week end with them in August when they’ll all come home. The time with them is always precious—-and always feels too brief.
I’ve been dashing around a lot lately, writing, finishing some projects, trying to clear the decks a little to relax (not my strong suit) in the summer, and just keeping on top of all the unexpected things that crop up on a daily basis that we all deal with (disgruntled employees, kids with a problem to solve, things that break and have to be repaired, plans that change). I was running from one meeting to another the other day, when a little dish I have caught my eye. A Christmas or two ago, or maybe it was a birthday, my youngest son gave me a little dish with a saying on it “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful”. I loved it when I got it, and it resonated for me. I notice it occasionally, but the other day it really struck me again, for the profound wisdom of it. Recently, I answered a Q and A for a magazine where they asked me to describe myself (gorgeous, young, tall, fabulous figure, thin, wise, genius, charming, patient, adorable at all times, wonderful cook…..oh? what? is there a problem? you mean, that’s not me?? damn….). It was a short list, and I wrote “perfectionist”, which is, unfortunately, true.
All my life, I have striven to make everything in my life (and the life of those I love) perfect. Since the birth of my first child at nineteen, I have wanted to give my many children a perfect life, safe and secure, shielded from all problems, happy all the time, wise, sensible, making good decisions, with none of the heartbreaks or disappointments in life. And we all know that just can’t happen. They’ve lived through two (of my) divorces, one from their father, which was sad for us all. One of their siblings died when most of them were very young, a tragedy. And despite a wonderful life, they have experienced in their own lives, all the challenges that everyone faces of failed relationships, difficult jobs, losses, and the betrayal of friends. No matter how much I love them, I can’t make their life perfect, but wish I could. And even now, I do all I can to try to help them solve their problems, or avoid them, and make their life as smooth as possible. But their lives are not perfect, nor is mine. I work hard, very hard, to make my books as perfect as I can. I want my homes to look perfect—-when I return to either of my cities, I unpack the night I arrive, and by morning, I want it to look as though I never left (stupid, I know). I rarely go to bed at night before finishing all the work I had to do, and try to clear my desk. I write lists, by week and day, of all the things I ‘have’ to do, and once on the list, I think it’s set in stone. I can’t stand mess, in my life, in my house. I want my employees to behave, do their jobs well, and be happy in their jobs. I want things to look nice, and for life to be perfect—-good luck with that!! Perfection is elusive, and there is always something out of whack….a child whose life isn’t going well, a colleague (or boss) who creates a problem, something that falls through, the car breaks down, you crack a tooth, a vacation doesn’t go as planned, a flight gets cancelled….something comes up almost daily in all our lives that interferes with the smooth sailing of our lives, and we all think that when a relationship improves, or a romance begins, or ends, when our kids behave better, when a legal problem is solved, or we find the right home, or can sell the house we need to, or buy the one we dream of, or meet the right man or woman…..then life will be perfect And then, what do you know, just when we get it all on track, a new problem crops up, or a bunch of them. Perfection just isn’t going to happen. Life is messy. But just as unexpected problems land on us—-so do unexpected joys, blessings, and wonderful things do happen, even miracles sometimes.
That little dish with that profound message really is true. Life can be wonderful EVEN if it’s not perfect. It’s a great reminder for me, and maybe for you too. Life can really be wonderful, even if the airline misplaced your suitcase, your vacation plans fall through, the dog is sick, your partner is being a jerk this week, you didn’t get the raise you wanted, or the new apartment, or you haven’t met the man or woman of your dreams yet, or you had an argument with a child (oh? you too??)—–life is and can be really wonderful. Something great may happen to you today, the house may be a mess, or your desk, or even your life at times, but if you stop waiting for EVERYTHING to go right and all the problems to be solved, life really can be so wonderful!!! with so many things to be grateful for.
It’s a great reminder for me, not to chase the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (and the resolution of all problems, striving for perfection), and to look up and enjoy the rainbow overhead. And there are so many rainbows along with the problems!!! Life isn’t perfect, but it sure can be terrific.
That same son also gave me a dish that says “Cocoa is a plant, so chocolate is salad” (YESSS!!!) and another one that says: “Calories are little creatures that live in your closet and sew your clothes tighter every night”. He’s such a smart boy!!!
I hope your life is wonderful today, and to hell with perfect. And for all you fathers, I hope that Father’s Day was great yesterday and that you had a lovely Father’s Day and were properly celebrated.
much love, Danielle
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Today I finished reading The Gift for maybe the tenth time in my life (the first time I ready it I was in middle school and I am now 34, with a middle-schooler!). I wondered to myself if, more than twenty years later, you had written a sequel. Of course in today’s age I turned to Google and simply type ‘Danielle Steel The Gift Sequel’. Even better than finding a misleading article that a sequel is on its way, I found your blog.
I am elated!
Your words on a perfect life are so very true. I cannot wait to read this blog to my husband tonight as he sometimes has trouble with being happy in an imperfect world. Just as you say, waiting for our kids to behave (good luck now that the teenage years are upon us) and that our jobs are right and the house is perfectly clean and no one has been sick in 2.4 months! Maybe it will give him a little comfort.
I must tell you that your writing is perfection! I have yet to be disappointed by any book that I pick up of yours. I sometimes find reading books by other authors frustrating as the story line is interrupted by typos and sentences that do not flow properly. Thank you for your writing!
What a wonderful article!!!!!!!! This is so perfect for me today with several things “going wrong” that just seem to hinder everything else going right! And I actually saw a double rainbow last evening! And, after all these years, having read all your books to date, Danielle, I finally picked up a copy of the book you wrote about your son Nick! For some reason, I just never read that book! Thanks for sharing that with everyone and for all the good you do in his memory! Here’s to enjoying everyday as best we can, perfect or not!
Your son’s words , “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful” is really an eye opener. He has made me to think in a different angle. I also love his line “Cocoa is a plant, so chocolate is salad”. You are blessed to have such a wonderful son
A dish- ” life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful ” ? Please thank your son for me, a give him a big hug!
I’m ” the broken perfectionist ” described in the song written by Pink, sung by Celine Dion. I am “recovering”, from a lifetime of abuse. Not substance abuse, but being in a world where people abuse me. One thing hammered into my head was to be perfect, or else…. it is a never ending cycle of lows, because one can never be perfect, let alone all the time. I’ve been punished for never making the grade. I was never good enough.
So, I’m now alone, trying to make baby steps, because I don’t know how it is, to live an imperfect life. If it’s okay…
But, thank you for writing this, because now you encourage me that it’s okay. I’m glad I saw this today.
Sadly, not all my family sees this to be true. Some are still madly seeking perfection in every part of their lives. One, to the point of controlling everything and everyone.
So, thank you, for helping me to see the difference between chasing pots of gold and enjoying rainbows. You’ve made an abstract crystal clear!!!
Thank you, too, for your passion in writing books. You’ve kept me going many a day. You are what I ask the library to send me!!
Oh Danielle, me too! You must be a Virgo! Am I right?
Lovely article Madame DS. When l was growing up l used to live on a saying that said “Life can never be perfect till you make it perfect’. So today during my lunch break l finished your novel, Five days in Paris.I was so intrigued by the whole story line that l dashed to the local library and landed on one of your wonderful novel entitled Pegasus.i really cant wait to start reading it.
When l stumbled on your blog today l was more than thrilled and this article made me realize that they are so many wonderful things in my life that l should celebrate everyday despite all the life stresses.If that gift from your son was mine l would definitely put it in my bedroom wall for that is where l read , dream and ponder, and treasure it for the rest of my life .
Keep up the good work madame