Good Enough: 10 Tips for Sucking Less

October 1, 2014

Recently Christine Organ (a blogger for this UU Collective) published a lovely post on “good enough” parenting in this competitive age. Frankly, as someone who feels like “good enough” parenting is pretty much the top of my game, I appreciated the reminder that plenty of other folks are perfectly fine parents without living up to their own—and perhaps other people’s—expectations.

But I think we can take this a step further. In a world where we are constantly exhorted to “dream big” and “pursue excellence,” maybe it’s time to admit that there are all sorts of areas of our lives that might benefit from a realistic dose of “good enough.” Once we accept that we are unlikely to win a Nobel prize, solve world hunger or marry a movie star, we might consider the possibility that for certain things, at certain moments, we would be just as well off striving for sucking less, rather than magnificence.

Here then, are ten tips for sucking at life just a little less. Please post additional suggestions in the comments below.

  1. Procrastinate better. We all know that there are some projects we’re just going to put off as long as possible. Sad but true. But it is possible to be more productive in one’s procrastination. Choose cleaning the kitchen or doing laundry over solitaire or leaving nasty comments on YouTube.
  2. Be more creative when you yell at your kids. Yeah, excellent parents don’t yell. If you’re already excellent this post is not for you. For the rest of us, it would be good enough to holler “If you two don’t stop bickering I am going to need to claw my eyes out! Either knock it off, do it somewhere I can’t hear, or find me new eyeballs!”
  3. Decide earlier in the day what you’re not going to manage to get around to, and let those expecting your efforts know that they’re going to have to wait. Bonus points if said informative email does not contain the phrase “Hold your freakin’ horses.”
  4. Eat healthier junk food. Yeah, OK, kale chips. Maybe. But really I’m thinking along the lines of darker chocolate, take-out that contains vegetables, dried fruit instead of candy. Unless the candy is dark chocolate, which is a health food.
  5. Take a walk. For bonus points, bring along a kid or a dog. Or not, and have a few minutes to yourself. I’m sure going to the gym or yoga class is excellent, but getting out for a stroll for a few minutes sucks less than sitting all day and all night.
  6. With your spouse/partner, agree to give each other a free pass on one annoying habit apiece. Excellent people fix their flaws. Good enough people pursue forgiveness.
  7. Find something you enjoy so much you can’t wait to do it, and treat that as a spiritual practice. Sure, meditation and prayer are excellent, but singing in the shower or playing tennis is pretty good. Good enough.
  8. Fix something little. The world is full of really huge problems. Climate change, economic injustice and racism are not going to get solved today, most likely. Find something small you can do, and celebrate that.
  9. Don’t obsess over arbitrary standards of what is “enough.”
  10.  See #9 above.
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