Last week, I had a Big Week. The Universe decided to send me crazy amounts of action in both my business life and my personal life. And a few very-late-nighters ensued, as I tried to get everything done.
One of the Big Things that was the grand opening of my mum’s business. Now, we should digress for a minute here to discuss the awesomeness of my mum. She and her business partner are physiotherapists who run their own hydrotherapy pool, which provides amazing services to people with disabilities, the elderly, the movement-challenged and anyone else requiring amazing therapeutic aquatic TLC. Mum is the kind of person who you just know is doing the work that the Universe intends her to do – helping people massively, frolicking at the forefront of her profession, and generally spewing forth Life-affirming beams of light whenever she’s around her patients.
Yeah, she’s that special.
Anyway, so this week was the culmination of three years of hard work, when the doors of their brand new facility were being thrown open to the public. We’re talking fifty-odd community figures and medical professionals, an official address by the Lord Mayor, and my mum’s hopes and dreams brought to fruition.
So, back to me (Ha! No seriously). A week before the big opening, I volunteered to do all the cooking. This meant whipping up a bake-sale’s worth of goodies and sweet treats for everyone to nibble on whilst mingling and ogling the brand spanking new facility. I knew it would be a helpful thing to do for my mum, plus I quite enjoy baking.
Then, the very next day, because the Universe likes to wink at us with its wily eyes, I had more clients contact me in a single day than I’ve ever had before. All needing work done, like, yesterday. All people who were either valued clients who’d become friends, really interesting people that I wanted to forge long-term business relationships with, or Really Big Fish who I would do anything to work with.
So, being semi-masochistic but mainly just super-excited, I said yes to everything and set myself up for a week of craziness.
Now, this could have been a blog post about setting boundaries for yourself and honoring your own needs.
But it’s not.
It’s a post about packet-mix cakes.
During the Week of Crazy, I did the best work that I could for all my clients in the time that I had. Seriously.
But of course everything takes more time than you think.
And before I knew it, the time had come to get my bake on and I still had a bunch of deadlines to meet.
Something had to give.
I had been entertaining visions of endless mini-cupcakes, all iced beautifully and colour-coordinated with the decor. I had imagined a big centrepiece cake that showed off my mad baking skills. Basically, I had imagined demonstrating my love for my mum in the form of beautiful baked goods and sugar-laden snacks.
But when the time came, I realized that I did not have enough time to do what I had wanted to do.
I really, really didn’t.
Turns out, the best that I could do was make 9 packet-mix cakes and slices and muffins. (And even that took way longer than expected.)
And of course, I spent part of that time beating myself up for not making the Martha Stewart baked-from-scratch snackables that I’d imagined.
But I baked, and I baked, and I kept on baking. And I smeared the ready-to-spread all-included icing on top, and then I pimped those cakelings with all the blueberries, shredded coconut and shaved chocolate that I could find.
And when I took the carb-laden fruits of my labour to the big day, and laid them out, no one knew that they were packet mixes. (And no one knew that I’d accidentally-kinda-sorta burned the top of the sultana butter-cake and had shaved the top off with a knife before hiding the evidence under cream cheese frosting.) And I’m pretty sure my mum didn’t feel any less loved by my cooking-with-convenience style. In fact, I’m pretty sure she knew I loved her regardless of my culinary contributions.
This was one of those glaring life examples of where done is better than perfect. Of where whipping ourselves into sleepless nights and mega frenzies of trying to get things ‘perfect’ achieves nothing except stressing us out. Of where we’d be far better off just aiming for a middle-of-the-road packet-mix.
My cakes did not bring the house down with heretofore unimagined deliciousness and prettiness. But then, thankfully, I realized (before it was too late) that that was never the point.
I got them done and the guests ate them, while we all focused on what was really important: dreams being lived, people being helped, amazing people offering their amazing gifts to the world.
Sometimes, a packet-mix is better than a full-scale culinary creation.
And done is definitely better than a full-scale perfectionist meltdown.
And giving what we can when we can is the best we can ever do…
So this is the moral of the packet-mix: sometimes good enough really is good enough.
Do you need a packet-mix in your life at the moment? xx