It is related of a certain king that on a particular occasion he turned his tea into his saucer, contrary to the etiquette of society, because two country ladies, whose hospitalities he was enjoying, did so. That king was a gentleman; and this anecdote serves to illustrate an important principle : namely, that true politeness and genuine good manners often not only permit, but absolutely demand, a violation of some of the arbitrary rules of etiquette. Bear this fact in mind – Martine’s Handbook to Etiquette and Guide to True Politeness, Arthur Martine, Dick & Fitzgerald Publishers, 1866.
When I came up with the topic of living imperfectly, I thought I would write about some of the ways I have chosen to live life my way despite societal expectations and pressure. Instead my Challenge posts became a journey about my attitude towards my own perfectionist tendencies and perfectionism in general. At times, these posts have been heavy going, but in some ways were clearly necessary for my own self development. Yet other times, the posts have felt light and easy and a whole lot of fun. And looking through the old etiquette books was a constant source of amusement. I thank Mr Martine, for his often entertaining exposition of how gentlemen and gentlewomen should conduct themselves in the late nineteenth century.
I felt like my zig-zag through the Challenge reflects my zig-zag through life.
Having taken this journey I now have some clarity around choices. Cause and effect is now more obvious and while we all have our own recipe for happiness, this Challenge has helped me find some of the main ingredients for mine. It has also helped me to know myself better.
The choice to zig or zag has therefore become clearer.
After this Challenge, my ZIG list would something look like this:
Leading from the front
Not being held hostage to fears
My ZAG list would look like something this:
Always needing to be right
Constantly ignoring my needs
Orthodoxy in behaviour
Now that I have these lists, I feel less confused and somewhat energized. It was a worthwhile, if not always easy, exercise.
Thanks to all of you who joined me for the Challenge, whether it was for one post or more, you have all contributed to this journey. To my fellow A to Zers, I have appreciated your creativity and look forward to continuing to build the alphabet with you one post at a time. Whether you’re still posting a “zed” post or a “zee” post, enjoy the last day!!