Writers are never satisfied with what we write. We strain to find the le mot juste, the perfect right word for the perfect right spot. We write and rewrite, edit and re-edit, until we reach a point when we have to stop fussing and let someone else read our pearls of wisdom. Or not, if they don’t like what we send out.
Life is like being a writer. Sometimes good is good enough. Sometime good isn’t enough and only perfection will do. Let’s look at housekeeping for a good example.
My house used to be fantastically clean when I worked. When I retired, I realized I didn’t want to be Martha Stewart and redecorate table tops for each season or power wash my decorative baskets fall and spring to remove dust. Don’t get me wrong. My house is clean, well, except for under one bed where I decided to name the dust bunnies. They are incredibly cute and lovable. I no longer feel compelled to clean daily. Once a week is good enough. Not the kitchen, of course, or the bathrooms, all of which get wiped down every day.
So, this week when a friend called, dumped me on speaker phone and expected me to mediate an argument he was having with his 26-year-old son, I was astonished. First, I can’t mediate over the phone. I can’t look at a room from afar and determine if it is clean enough. My friend refused to admit he has OCD, but he mops the kitchen floor every friggin’ day. And he has neither toddlers nor pets.
His son is in my camp. If he keeps his room uncluttered, it’s good enough for him. He is bi-polar, but that has nothing to do with how he maintains his room. The argument began over the state of the son’s room not being pristine. Did I say the house is on the market? It is. Father believes it will only sell if it looks like no one lives there. I don’t know what they do about cooking smells. Really I don’t.
Well, this argument progressed to name calling. At one point, I hung up with father told son he was lying. I’d had enough of that with Donald Trump calling his opponents liars. Since I wasn’t there, I had no clue if son was lying or not. I lean toward not, because I know how hard son has worked to clean up his act. Father threw out accusations he used a year ago; son followed with his own year-old accusations.
The result of this mess was me hanging up, texting with son, and having my calls ducked by father. I wanted to spank them both and shout, “Man up” or “Grow the Ef Up.” I didn’t do either. I merely ask how they can reach detente and realize that for most of us, good is more than good enough.
How many of you have had similar situations where perfection is unachievable and good has to be good enough?