For most of my girl-and-woman life, I have been searching for the perfect purse. Not too big, not too small. Some pockets, but not too many. Deep enough that my wallet sits in there securely, but not so deep that I can’t find my keys in that dark chasm of leather and fabric. Stylish but not too patterned, as I am not one to switch purses to match an outfit. A handle long enough that the purse is not in my armpit but not so long that it feels like I have a pet on a leash. And generally under $25 (yes, I have pre-determined price limits on what I will spend on certain items). Just this week I bought a cute blue paisley canvas bag – on sale and with a coupon – for $8.95 out the door…not too bad! But have I found the perfect purse? Not yet…
I think there is something inside each of us that longs for something perfect. We don’t expect life to be perfect – we have been around too long to set our sights on that. But can’t something be perfect? After all, we have the science, the technology, the strength to accomplish that, don’t we?
Kate Spade may have created the perfect purse. Anthony Bourdain may have created the perfect recipe. Successful careers and lifestyles at this level can lead us to put these individuals in a different category than ourselves – not perfect, but closer to perfection than the average. Sadly, as we have learned in the past 48 hours, this is not true. For reasons that are not yet entirely clear, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain each experienced great distress to the point that, for each of them personally, life no longer seemed worth living.
So the reminders in this tragic story include these: Let me be the first to stop assuming that those around me who seem to be living the idyllic life are indeed trouble-free. Rather than comparing, may I develop a greater awareness and a deeper compassion. May I listen more intently. May I understand others better. May I ask more questions and offer more help.
Furthermore, let me be the first to stop the comparison game, always measuring my life situation against someone else’s. Instead of wishing for the perfect home, job, marriage or body that someone else has, may I instead develop a spirit of contentment, embracing what is not perfect and then sharing that contentment with others. In the spirit of the above illustration, let’s stop looking for the perfect purse and appreciate the one we have.