Today’s post is a guest blog from my good friend Louise.
The strapline “I may not be perfect but I am a limited edition” jumped out at me from an advertising hoarding in Nairobi. It was ten o’clock in the evening and was a lightbulb moment even after a long day of travelling. I knew as I read it that I would want to write an article and finally here I am.
The words were on the tee shirt of a young school child but what the advert was for I have no idea as the taxi was zooming along and, despite keeping my eyes peeled, I never spotted the advert again during my two week stay.
Why was it a lightbulb moment?
Two reasons, firstly none of us is perfect despite all our best efforts.
Secondly, we are all limited editions.
Perfection has dogged me all my life.
Perfection and the need to be a perfect person have dogged me all my life. My life plan was always simple but I wanted everything in my life to be perfect. I needed people to like me. I hated breaking anything. I kept things for special occasions. When I realised babies may not come easily, I didn’t want IVF as I wanted what nature had intended, a naturally conceived perfect child.
Over the years I have learned to accept that no one and no one’s life is perfect. I remind myself often of the phrase “good enough is good enough”. I still need to be loved but realise that differences often mean we have to work with colleagues and show respect and tolerance without needing to be friends. I use things, wear clothes because I want to and today is as good a day as any.
I still remember a beautiful box of paints and crayons I was given as a 10 year that were never fully used because I wanted to save them for that special piece of colouring. Eventually they were spoilt in an accident instead of being enjoyed.
As for IVF, five rounds later we still did not hold that perfect child. As we all know only too well, life is not easy. Our bodies can play cruel tricks, people will let us down, accidents will happen and our favourite things will be spoilt.
We have a choice to make
We have a stark choice to make. Continue to seek perfection but be miserable and disappointed in the process. Or to accept life and all its, and our own, imperfections and make sure we enjoy every day. Even if we are having a bad day there will always be one small thing we enjoy. You don’t believe me? Look hard. It may be a good cup of coffee, the smile from a stranger on the bus, a cartoon in the newspaper or the sight of rainbow.
As for limited editions, the fashion designers want us to want them. Limited editions are different, they are expensive, they will apparently make us feel special and they are only available for a short period of time. What struck me about the poster was that our lives are limited too. No one lives for ever.
For those of us who are childless, who we are and our genetic makeup end with us. None of our unique traits, those one offs which are the result of the precise combination of our own mother and father, will continue to live after we have left this world.
That thought sparked a short moment of sadness. Then, I realised only half of our DNA would have lived on in our children so every single person truly is a one off, never to be repeated, exclusive individual.
And now I make the days count.
I also reminded myself that after years of pain and grief, I have found ways I never imagined possible to make difference to the world. This will be my legacy from my limited time here on earth.
Now, when I think about limited editions, I remember each one of us, childless or not, is unique, priceless; special and our days are numbered. As the saying goes “it is not counting the days that is important but making the days count”.
My aim is to make my limited days count in some small way every day.
You can read Louise’s story here.
What do you think?
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I’ve spoken to so many women who, after having a chat with me realised that what they’re going through is absolutely normal. So if you’d like to do that please book a complimentary session via my online diary