I have a good life. And lots of things to be thankful for. But I would be lying if I told you that my life is awesome or that it even remotely resembles the life I imagined I would have. It just doesn’t. And that is OK. And there is nothing wrong with OK. In fact there are a lot of people in the world who would like to be OK. Being content with a life of “okayness” doesn’t mean I’ve resigned my self to a life that is mediocre. It doesn’t mean I don’t strive for happiness. Nor does it mean I don’t put all of my effort into the things that require all of my effort. I’m not just coasting through life. There are things I’m really good at. There are things I’m not bad at. There are things I just outright suck at. If you average it all out I am – yep – OK.
It’s so easy to compare ourselves to each other. To compare our lives to other lives. Dangerously easy perhaps. Facebook and Instagram are full of images and stories of perfect lives. Except no they’re not. Those images and snippets we see are just brief moments of time. They don’t tell us the whole story. They don’t even tell us a chapter. They are cherry picked quotes from people’s lives. The other day I posted an adorable picture of my five year old in her cheer outfit before a big competition. I didn’t post a picture of her screaming at me 5 minutes later because I couldn’t find the pen she lost. I’m not saying that picking and choosing what you share is wrong. Or that only sharing the cute, happy, rewarding, etc. moments is wrong. It certainly is not. Five year olds lose their shit ALL THE TIME. And if I’m sharing snippets from my child’s life it’s my responsibility to determine what those are. It’s not like I never tell little stories of ridiculous things she’s done but you will always see far more “good” posted about her than “bad”. That is simply my responsibility as a parent.
“Good enough” is a phrase I hear myself saying more and more over the years. I don’t have enough hours in a day to worry about everything being perfect. Some things get more of my attention. More effort. Some things need better than good enough. But most don’t. And I never really got that until I became a mother. Go out there and be good enough or be OK are not the kind of messages we grow up hearing. It’s always do your best. Always give 110%. And those mantras make sense right? Until they don’t. Because at some point in your life you will realize not everything you do actually requires 110%. And you will learn to sort out which things do and which just don’t.
Another issue that plagues us today, that makes it so much harder to accept OK or good enough is choice overload. We have so many things today to choose from that sometimes trying to pick the perfect one feels next to impossible. And it can be stressful. How do I know which formula, car seat, vehicle, TV, etc. is THE BEST when there are 100 of each to pick from? We sometimes agonize over these decisions. Even if all of the options would do. Because of all these choices we set our expectations high, often unrealistically high, and then feel like we failed when those expectations aren’t met.
Is being content with OK or good enough something we really should be teaching our kids. In some cases, yes I think it is. I don’t have to look any further than my daughter’s current experience with cheer leading to give you a perfect example. My daughter is five. There are 19 other five year olds in her cheer class. We just finished our third competition of the year. Molly shows up, on time, for every single practice each week. We practice a bit at home too. She goes into each competition with a great attitude and is excited to be there. I love watching her and I love watching her entire team (trust me five year old cheer leaders are adorable). My daughter is not the best cheer leader. Her team is not the best team. And I think they know it. At least I know Molly knows it. And that’s ok. It doesn’t mean they don’t try their best. It doesn’t mean they don’t go out there to win. Each time they step on that competition mat they give it everything they have. Could she join a team that practices twice as often and might have a better shot at winning because of it? Yep she sure could. Does she want to? Nope. She loves the class. She loves her coach. She loves the teamwork and the competitions. It’s good enough. For her, this is more about the experience than the outcome. And I think that’s a pretty great way to live your life.