Emma and the Quest for the Perfect Cleaning Schedule

I didn’t see the need for another, longer version of Emma. I had enjoyed the Gwyneth Paltrow version for years, and although it is only a standard-length movie, I considered it remarkably faithful to the original book.


But my friends who are true Jane Austen connoisseurs were adamant that the BBC miniseries was a superior adaptation, so I gave it a try. And, y’all: now Emma has *almost* edged out Pride and Prejudice as my favorite Jane story. The BBC movie sparkles with energy, youth, and nuance that I never appreciated before!

(I’ve now read the original book again and watched the whole miniseries two more times, and Emma definitely stands up to the x100 test.)


Here is the moral of this story: Sometimes good enough is good enough. But sometimes good can be better.

If you’re a recovering-perfectionist type, maybe this makes you want to crawl under a blanket. But if you’re like me, this idea actually inspires a lot of hope.

There are tons of areas in my life that are Gwyneth-good, and I’m happy as a clam to keep them that way. (See: lame budget spreadsheets, mommish wardrobe, walk-to-the-mailbox exercise regimen.) I’m bored just thinking about making any effort to improve myself in these areas, so I don’t.

But there are other parts of my life that I do care about, a lot. The idea of getting just a little bit better makes me excited and energetic. I read books and listen to podcasts that give me new ideas. I try new techniques and systems. I’m always eager to tweak and refine, because I truly believe that my latest improvement might take me from Jeremy Northam Knightley to Jonny Lee Miller Knightley, and if that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is.

I tend to be in a state of constant self-improvement in three main areas: as a reader, a meal planner, and a home manager (to-do lists, cleaning schedules, organization systems, etc.)

I have a couple of strengths in those areas. But most of the things on my striving-list are areas where I do not have natural gifts. What sets those things apart from all of my “good-enoughs” is that I truly enjoy the process of improvement. And that’s a key point, I think: that the goal is not achieving Pinterest-perfection, but the whole awesome process of learning and growing and getting better, a little bit at a time.

So keep trying! You never know when you’ll stumble upon something brilliant.


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