2016: Good enough is better than perfect

With New Year’s resolutions circulating around each of us, it’s hard to pass by the commercials and Facebook sponsored articles shouting, “How to make and keep your new years resolutions” and “Resolving to lose weight? Tips to keep the weight off for good.” I love a fresh start as much as the next person, but I can’t get behind a new year’s resolution.

Not including the fact that the vast majority of resolutions are never kept, it’s this pressure that something isn’t perfect and needs to change. We can frame it anyway we want—growth, goals, change. But no matter the angle, the vast majority of resolutions boil down to this internal soundbite: “I’m not good enough in_____ area of my life, and I’m gonna change!” Don’t get me wrong, I love growth more than anything. Developing, changing, harnessing the good. But once a year—with the help of multiple media outlets— we smack ourselves in the face with the notion that in some are of our lives—looks, love, finances, fitness—we just aren’t quite cutting it. We’ve accepted this as the norm because heck, our parents fell for it growing up, our neighbors are doing it, and we even make resolutions in school. And there’s a huge industry that banks on our desire to change come January 1st each year.

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On New Year’s Eve this year, my husband and I were tucking our tired and sick kids into bed at my in-law’s home during our east coast visit. We were so happy to have a moment of silence. Andy decided he wanted to teach me to play Gin Rummy. I was so excited because he’s not competitive and I’ve never played a card game with him. So the chance to try and ruffle his very few competitive feathers and share a drink with him in the silence of the living room corner was just perfect. At a certain point he said, “wait, you should check if it’s midnight!” I looked down at my phone at it was exactly 12:01. “Crap! We missed it!” We listened to the faint sounds of fireworks as he whooped my butt in a new favorite game.

There was no thought of resolution. No changes. No epiphanies. I made a concerted effort coming into 2016 to remind myself that my best headspace, my greatest moments of peace, my most thoughtful successes come from my belief that I’m good enough. That my life is good enough. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough. And good enough is better than perfect. From the casual observer this might sound like I’m side-stepping goals, like I’m skirting success. That—God forbid—I’ve gotten lazy in my 30s.

It’s quite the opposite. When I zero in too closely and I forget that I’ve climbed so high on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that I can have a blog (!!) to document my musings and have the privilege to think about happiness, I often wrap myself in headspace traffic.

It’s almost like I’m looking at this beautiful framed painting hanging on the wall–the way I picture my perfect life. But it’s not my picture. I can’t have it and I shouldn’t. But right next to it, there’s this equally beautiful–but different– piece of artwork. That’s my picture–it’s my life. Sometimes I just forget to look at it, notice it, and grab hold of it. Sometimes it takes just a little looking to the left to see what a beautiful piece of work you have.

So yes, in those moments when I believe that striving for good enough is better than perfect, my life feels absolutely perfect. So that’s my resolution: to own my good enough life. Because that is where the creativity happens. The genuine love. The random doors that open to unexpected surprises. When I live for good enough I can confidently own imperfection so that in the state of calm, like a garden bed with a fresh layer of soil, I can start planting the seeds for little delights. And I’ll know when it’s time to dig my heels in for the real transformational work that involves unpleasant sacrifice and grueling dedication. The transformation that doesn’t come from a January 1st declaration.

I don’t have the perfect job, the perfect house, jet-setting glamour. But my life is good enough. I am healthy. My family is healthy. I have more than I need. And I am fortunate to be in a place to think about what else I could possibly desire. Many people are not so lucky, and sometimes I forget that privilege that I have–that many of us have.

Just like every other year, I know 2016 will be full of beautiful moments and some tough obstacles. I’ll make some big goals, but I’ll also make an effort to look at my picture and be content exactly as it is and trust the process. No resolution this year, but it’s going to be good enough. And for that reason, it’s going to rock.

Happy 2016, y’all!