A Utopian Canvas | Benjamin Woods

Utopia. An imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect. Imagine that. Everything absolutely perfect, down to the last dot and tittle. It’s not the big things like the cure to cancer that a true Utopia is built upon but the small, the mundane, the everyday little things.

The question is, if you really think about it would you want to live in Utopia if given a chance? The obvious answer is yes, and at first, this would seem like the correct answer. However, as time goes on, the initial allure of perfection grows thin.

You got out of bed this morning, and there’s a hot cup of tea already made by your bedside. The curtains are already opened, as rays of sunlight accompanied by birdsong fill the room. Your perfect partner is lying next to you. Smiling up at you with deep brown eyes and thick brunette locks. You brush your lips against each other, and you breathe deeply. Reluctantly you pull yourself from the warm, comforting embrace and go to have a shower. The steaming hot water flows over your skin. Not a spot, not a mole, not a lump, not a bump, not a scar in sight. Gently rubbing rose-scented lather into your scalp, you’re immersed in your own world as you smile to yourself in your watery paradise.

Suddenly you are in the kitchen, warm fluffy slippers on your feet and your bathrobe wrapped tightly around you. There’s a fresh loaf on the counter, and the smell of coffee fills your nostrils. You put a slice of bread in the toaster, and it comes out perfectly, just as you like it. You spread butter on your toast, and it melts just the way you want it as you sit down at the breakfast table. An eggcup with a boiled egg is waiting for you. Not too hard, not too soft, just a dash runny in the centre. Perfection.

 You look around the kitchen and see your perfect family in your perfect home with your perfect life. You blink, and when you open your eyes, you’re in a clearing in the woods. A warm wind blows your hair, the bluebells are out in bloom, and the kids in their adorable little pink and blue bobble hats chase each other. You start to feel peckish, and if by magic, you spy an old English rustic pub poking out around the bend. You order Coke for the kids and two pints of bitter for yourself and your partner. You look back the way you came as you sip your pint of golden brown nectar. Ahhhhh perfection.

The wind picks up, but then you find yourself back at home. You look out of the window; the sunset is magical. You turn to look at the coffee table upon which now lies a book. The exact book you wanted to read, what else? The kids are quietly watching TV in the other room, and your partner is reading the paper. Not that there is any news, of course. While there is no bad news in Utopia, there’s no good news either; you can’t improve on perfection. Your eyes feel heavy, and you start to drift off to the perfect sleep.

You wake up in your bed, a hot cup of tea on the side table. The curtains are already opened as you kiss your partner good morning. You step into the shower, the perfect temperature. A fresh loaf greets you in the kitchen; you cut a slice and toast it. You tuck into a perfectly done boiled egg with your toast soldiers looking across the kitchen at your perfect family, in your perfect house, with your perfect life. You blink, and you feel the breeze through your hair as you find yourself walking hand in hand in the woods; the kids are wearing their adorable blue and pink bobble hats. You spot a pub and stop for a drink before finding yourself back at home. The kids are in the other room, and your partner is reading the paper, not that there is any news, of course. You start to drift off.

You wake up and kiss your partner good morning. You take a steaming hot shower before having a breakfast of toast and a perfect boiled egg. You look at your perfect family, in your perfect house, with your perfect life. You take a walk in the woods; the breeze and the bird song perfect with the kids in their cute little hats. You stop at an ideal pub before suddenly finding yourself home with the perfect book. It’s not long until you drift off.

You wake up, take a shower and look at your perfect family, in your perfect house with your perfect life. You go for the perfect walk, and you come home to the perfect book before drifting off into a perfect sleep.

You wake up. You look at your perfect family, in your perfect house with your perfect life. You drift off.

You wake up. You drift off.

At first, it seems idyllic; it is Utopia, after all. Every day the same as the one before. Every day perfect. Never ageing, never changing. Not a single bug bare, nor pet hate. But yet… There is nothing you love to hate, nothing to make today stand out from the last. There are no memories of stupid mistakes that you can look back on and laugh at. You have never felt the gratification of achieving something or moving forward. Nothing to aim for, nothing to move towards. You can’t improve on perfection; each day just a mirror image of the last.

You see, if the perfect Utopia were a painting, you might imagine a beautiful explosion of colour, but instead, a blank canvas would stare back at you. Nothing on it, not a mark or a scratch. No mistakes or smudges, no colour at all. Nothing that could be open to interpretation; after all, someone may not interpret it as perfection. Just a pure, perfect unmarked white canvas.

It is not by reaching Utopia that brings colour or meaning. It’s on the never-ending journey to get there that meaning is found. Indeed meaning is not found in perfection at all but a thousand messy, unique, imperfect smudges on fate’s canvas. You are not perfect, nor will you ever be, no matter how hard you try, and because of this, not despite it, you are worth a thousand perfect blank canvases.

You wake up.

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