"You got this. It's your time to shine."

They said I could change the world. They said I could do anything I wanted to do and be anybody I wanted to be. They said I am ready (so ready) to take life in stride.

You got this. You're confident. You're capable, I tell myself. (Well, I told myself).

That was August, you see, of my first year on campus. Before I'd met them. Before I'd seen.

The perfect people.

They were everywhere.

I went to my first class and saw the students (seniors for sure) sitting in the black chairs in front of the brown tables. As class wore on, it became evident: they all were perfectly able to do that which I couldn't.

They were raising their perfect hands in class and articulating questions in perfect language that seemed to elude me when I opened my mouth. Receiving back my first assignment, I saw my fellow table-sharer get a score perfectly better than my own.

But perfection wasn't contained to the classroom (no, oh no). Each step outside my dorm's confines subjected me to its embrace.

I hear the sound of perfect laughter slipping underneath a dorm door as I step outside. I see the perfect group of guys with Koio shoes and Oakley sunglasses get into the sleek, perfect Buick. The perfect, plaid-clad skateboarder glides past before I reach the café.

The three girls waiting in line, backpacks perfectly coordinating and lipsticked smiles perfectly accenting their mirth, somehow managed to perfect "cute." Latté-ed and Macbook-ed, the four sit working towards their perfect GPAs. The two perfectly harmonize as they head to the door and perfectly epitomize accomplished talent.

By the end of August I often silently plead when I leave the dorm that I do not see the particularly perfectly ones (or maybe, it might be better if I could avoid all humans entirely).

You see, carrying the weight of feeling that I should be perfect, I was perfectly something: perfectly unhappy.

Because everyone else was so much more perfect than me.

Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

I lived while silently dying because of the perfection capturing my attention. I didn't realize it at the time (we seldom do). But realize a few things? Now, I do.

I'm not going to tell you that nobody's perfect, even if you want to hear it to feel better. Honestly, some people really could be called perfect. (What's crucial is simply how you define perfection.)

I'm not going to tell you that you shouldn't even strive for perfection. The pursuit of bettering yourself is not bad in itself.

I'm not going to tell you that you can hate on all the "perfect" people because "they're just fake, anyway." Maybe they are, but maybe they aren't. They might not think they're perfect (though they could). You are the one seeing them through perfection-tinted glasses.

But I will tell you this: they cannot see inside your mind.

Each time you look at them, see "perfection" (real or imagined) and let that perfection dictate a way that you think (about them, about yourself, about life in general), it is your choice.

And this choice? Well, it's not affecting them. They are not impacted by the thought of whether you think they are prefect.

It's just eating your time. Eating the moments you could choose to make your life a little more of the "perfect" you want it to be.

What if perfect wasn't what people say it is? Money. Popularity. Success. Happiness.

What if perfect was being perfectly content: perfectly content with the imperfect? Perfectly content that you and your life simply are not everything that you would call "perfect" by one definition? Perfectly okay with the idea of perfect imperfection?

It is perfect that you are imperfect: incomplete because that means you have something to strive after. You are reminded that we all are human and all have some imperfection to offer to each other.

You can know that perfection may not be absolutely possible, but progress sure is. And let me tell you, progress feels sweet. Perception pridefully fixed to perfection is sickly.

We can make progress in the amount that we selflessly love other people. We can make progress in developing relationships with others. Yes, we can even make progress towards making the world a better place.

Wouldn't this be prefect: seeing people accept they are imperfect but be perfectly content with that.

What if we stopped trying to chase this idea of perfection? Stopped spending our mental energy on comparing, judging, "better," and "besting"? What if we just tried to enjoy each small moment of our existence while seeking to make others' existences better?

I am imperfect. You are imperfect. We are imperfect. But that's not what life is about. Who cares about the categorizations, anyway? What do they matter? Who chooses them?

I don't know, but this I do: I choose life. I choose to seize each day and to love each imperfect person and invest in each imperfect moment. For this is my choice; this is my life.

May we each choose wisely.