Monthly Musing – July 2018 – Good enough

Do you ever have those times when you realise that you’ve not done something that you intended to do, feeling your stomach sink in that moment of “Uh oh, how do I fix that?” panic? Sometimes it can be something pretty big (“my MOT certificate is really out of date”) and sometimes it’s not really that big at all (“I forgot to buy bread rolls”), but still that plummeting feeling can catch you unawares.

I forgot to write the Monthly Musing last month. Did you notice? Did it ruin your day? I thought not (although apologies if it did). After a few moments of “Uh oh, how do I fix that?”; “Can I write it and backdate it and pretend nothing was wrong?” and “How on earth could I forget that?!”, I realised that there was really no point in worrying about it. On a scale of 1 to 10, it wasn’t up there with anything life-threatening or seriously problem-causing; my Monthly Musings are something that I write because I like to. The deadlines are my own, and if I miss a month (intentionally or not) then the world doesn’t stop.

It wouldn’t have been that long ago, though, that I’d have been frantically Googling for a solution, distraught that I’d let both the wider world and myself down (and here’s a question for another day – just exactly who are the people in this “wider world” waiting to catalogue my every mistake who have been disappointed by this? Our egos have a lot to answer for sometimes!). There would be a gap in my blog archives that I couldn’t fill and that would mess with my ideas of perfection – and there we have it.

How often do we get caught up in our own ideas of perfection so much that it spoils whatever we’re doing at the time? I know there have been many times when the time that I’ve spent in trying to make something perfect when “good enough” will do is time that I won’t get back – and for not much gain. And that’s not to say that “good enough” is an excuse for not doing something properly, but there are degrees of “good enough” and “perfection” that we need to get clear in our own minds: as the French philosopher Voltaire said: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. I can get too hung up on the tiniest details that don’t matter to anyone but me, and I need to get better at deciding whether they really are going to make a difference. If I was going into space in a rocket then nothing less than perfection would be good enough (no slap-dash NASA engineering for me, thank you!), but an extra stitch picked up on a sock gusset that nobody (including me) will ever notice is not a reason to lose sleep.

And a missed Monthly Musing? Yes, there’s a gap in my archive and maybe someone, somewhere, might have wondered whether I had forgotten to write it, but here’s one for this month instead. I won’t ever stop wanting things to be as good as I can make them, but I will try very hard not to let my need for perfection get in the way. After all, who’s to say that one person’s “good enough” isn’t another person’s “perfection” anyway – and so I’ll post this now and stop writing and re-writing. Time to step away from the keyboard, it’s good enough!

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12 Responses

  1. Helen S says:

    Hello Christine,
    Love this post.
    I, too, have been examining my expectations of self ( generated by myself, I might add!!) and am hopefully coming to understand how to "be enough" for the day, the family, my creativity and so on.
    Have enjoyed dipping into Berne Brown's "The Gifts of Imperfection " recently.
    Have a great weekend.

  2. Denise Fordyce says:

    This is a very timely reminder to me, thank you! I remember a very wise children's doctor once talking to me about being a "good enough parent" not a perfect parent! Let's all be a little kinder on ourselves…

  3. luluknitts says:

    You hit a nerve there Christine, as I'm a bit of a fusspot when it comes to everything being in order and correct. Mad, I know, but missing a post like that would probably have had me up at 3am frantically scribbling away! And people saying "life's too short" to me, really doesn't help! Much love. x

  4. RhianPennant says:

    You make a really good point – we are our own worst enemies and critics – the first to point out a little mistake in something we’ve made when probably as you say the recipient would never notice. I think We need to be a little kinder to ourselves – take a breath and smell the flowers 💐 and Christine I’m a regular reader of your blog and didn’t notice you hadn’t posted your Monthly Musings, but glad to catch up now 😉
    Rhian x

  5. Jacquisj says:

    I love your monthly musings but would never expect you to put pressure on yourself because you were really busy and forget. I look forward to all you give and enjoy your witful writing but no pressure please!

  6. happyneedles says:

    I always enjoy Monthly Musing from you … every one of us get caught up in "life" so even when missing you I do know when you can you will catch us up.

    Happy to hear from your today 🙂

  7. Anonymous says:

    Bravo!! Thank you for saying what I needed to hear! I'm crummy at that distinction too, which is okay because trying to get better is "good enough"!

  8. Dots says:

    You are right. We all miss at times. I read your blog & I enjoy it. But I never feel 'owed' by you. So if you blog and skip when you choose to, then I say it is okay to do as you want to. After all, it is yours to do with as you please.

  9. Corinne says:

    Thanks for your very interesting musings, Christine.
    Talking about perfection made me think of The Flylady, an online system for keeping the house clean. Marla Cilley is The Flylady, and she says that good enough still blesses your family. I think perfection is highly overrated too!(apart from NASA, obviously!)
    Corinne x

  10. Caroline says:

    No, I didn't notice! You are quite right though that sometimes good enough is fine. I am guilty of not starting a job because I won't be able to finish it perfectly…but really I should just get on with it and get it done well enough! Words of wisdom as always Christine! Thank you.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you – a very timely reminder to me not to panic over the small stuff!

  12. selina says:

    no, i hadn't noticed lol! i always enjoy your posts no matter what they're about or when… hah perfection is overrated & yes, been there done that one too, not so much anymore, only in my knitting (which is why my socks are causing me so much enjoyable grief) it's not natural but if we just do the best we can then next time we can do better, wouldn't you agree?
    a very enjoyable read
    thanx for sharing

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