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 Sometimes it can be something pretty big (“my MOT certificate is really out of date”) and sometimes it’s not really that big at all (“I forgot to buy bread rolls”), but still that plummeting feeling can catch you unawares.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!