Lofty goals take a back seat
I’ve decided that I’m good enough.
I had a big birthday, and it got me to thinking, as big birthdays will, about what would change and what would stay the same in the decade to come. I found my list of self-improvement chores much shorter than in previous years.
I used to exhaust myself with these lists.
I would write them down and then worry I’d forget them — and how could I become a better person if I didn’t have my goals in mind every moment? Every day, I’d review my lofty goals of being more productive and more mindful and eating better and exercising more and accomplishing all the things I dreamed of.
But this year, I found myself making lists of all the ways I liked my life and, surprisingly, all the ways I liked myself — just as I am. In fact, I woke this morning, this morning of the big birthday, and felt that I was good enough.
Of course, I’m not perfect. There isn’t a day I don’t waste valuable time, or miss an opportunity to be kind, or generally fall short of being the person I could be. But perfection is a terrible goal to set for oneself. I was never meant to be perfect and, now that I think about it, perfect sounds a bit dull. Instead, I’m going to be grateful that I am good enough.
“Good enough” encompasses everything.
It covers the moments of overwhelming bliss that blindside me: walking down the street and seeing a shop filled with yellow flowers, or a small girl dancing in a dirty green onesie, or a giant furry dog pounding its feet on the ground, or the sun reflecting perfectly on a shiny piece of stone on the sidewalk. It’s all the moments I catch — just in time — that cause my heart to swell and make me wonder how so much beauty could be around me so much of the time, and I am lucky enough to see it.
“Good enough” also covers the times when I feel alone and ignored. When friends don’t write back and no one seems to notice my writing and I wonder if I might be delusional, typing away every day with no one reading my novel. It covers when I am tired and a little sore and I don’t feel like taking my walk or doing my pushups or finishing the cleaning or the paperwork that seems overwhelming at that moment. “Good enough” covers it all.
And while I have always enjoyed articles about self-reinvention, I discovered with surprise, on this big birthday, that I’m not interested in reinventing myself, because I like the self I’ve invented pretty well. Sure, she’s got a few issues. But I’m used to her issues and none of them will get her arrested. She’s good enough for me.
I realize (with a little disappointment) that this philosophy will probably not allow me to write a self-help blockbuster. “You’re Good Enough: Get Over It” probably wouldn’t make its way up the New York Times bestseller list. And that’s OK too. I used to think I had a lot more advice for other people than I have today. Today, I think it’s good enough to manage my life as best I can and let others do the same. They are good enough as well.
It will be interesting to approach a new decade with fewer lofty goals and more kindness toward myself. I wanted to finish this column with words worthy of the occasion. I’ve decided this is good enough.