By Kate Kole
I love Melissa McCarthy and I really love Ellen DeGeneres, so I was a little bummed when I forgot to record their interview a few days ago. I asked my parents if they’d seen it and immediately knew they hadn’t when my dad responded something along the lines of, “Oh yeah. It was so funny.”
“Okay, so you didn’t see it either.” I said.
“Why do you say that?” He asked.
“Because, you’d say it was just okay,” my mom and I replied in unison.
My family jokes that ‘fine’, ‘alright’, and ‘okay’ are my dad’s go-to words to describe anything. We’ll say that a dessert is the best we’ve ever tasted and he’ll give it a glowing review of “pretty good.” We’ll say a movie was hysterical and he’ll comment that it “had a couple funny scenes” in it.
In defense of my dad, he’s rarely disappointed when he notes that something is satisfactory. He’ll happily keep eating the cake and watching the comedy without complaint. To him, good enough really is just that – good enough.
In some ways, I find that refreshing. Because, it’s easy to get caught up in the pursuit of excellence. To envision what the perfect house, marriage, career, family, and life might look like and to make those things the end goal. To always keep searching, climbing, and racing towards the next best thing: a bigger place, a better job, a higher raise, or a more toned body. Average, in any way, seems to carry an almost negative connotation when used to describe our lives.
And to be honest, a lot of life, or at least a lot of my life, is what I’d consider to be average. We spend most evenings eating dinner in front of the TV and I start inching my way towards bed by 9 o’clock. Our mornings are filled with unloading the dishwasher, packing lunch, ironing clothes, walking our dog, and a quick kiss on the way out the door. The stuff in between is mostly the same: work, appointments, errands, and laundry with a podcast playing in the background.
Needless to say, if I held a glamorous and highly exciting expectation for my life, I might be a little disappointed at the fact that it’s rarely either of those things. It’s filled with more sweatpants than it is with ‘going out’ dresses. And my phone has more pictures of recipes on it than it does pictures of vacations we’ve taken. I’m okay with that. I like the average life we’ve built.
I’m not rooting for complacency here. And I’m certainly not about to start marching with a sign that says, “lower your standards”. But I do think there’s something to be said for contentment. For seeing our lives for what they are and finding appreciation for them as they are. For joy in the ordinary.
While ambition is an admirable trait, and I of course want to create a life that I can be proud of, I never want it to be at the expense of missing the everyday beauty that already exists in the people, places, and experiences right in front of me. Because a home doesn’t need to be fully renovated to be a source of comfort and connection, and a job doesn’t need to fulfill our life’s purpose to be meaningful and to pay the bills, and our bodies don’t need to dwindle to a different size before we can dance our booties off in the kitchen and accept them as they are.
Maybe our lives are good enough as they are right now. And maybe good enough isn’t such a bad thing.
Featured image via Pexels