Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Aiming for Good Enough

grappling with Right Now

A thing I have learned: I find it much harder to write with vulnerability when I am in a strong, stable, committed relationship with another human being.

When we first started dating, I remember him telling me he read a lot of this blog. He referenced it in a few conversations, with the right balance of casual and serious — he was interested, he was learning about me, and he was giving space to process and share through time, through conversation.

In this moment, it is hard to write what I know, hard to write myself, when I am aware of all the people in different circumstances. Am I living right by my own standards, thoroughly? Or am I living duality — feeling good in one place and good in a different place, but knowing they are in conflict with one another, and refusing to mix them? How can I write and feel okay about what I am writing, when the threat of feeling like an absolute clown looms large and frightening, just in front of me? Example: working in a non-profit and having a raw closeness to the hell the pandemic is playing, which is deeply tied to class… and then spending a frivolous $400 on a tattoo. How can these live together in the same life?

Guilt serves a purpose, but it’s not something to sit inside of. What do I do with financial guilt? Set up a budget, ensure I am donating a certain percent of my income on a monthly basis to BIPOC lead and benefitting organizations, people, events. Talk about it. Think about it. Make decisions.

Today is my inhale, my exhale.

I spent January in, it seems, a full on sprint. At the time, I thought that it was just How I Choose To Live My Life In 2021.

I ran 100 miles, including an accidental half marathon (lolz oops); I had some of the best data at work that I’ve had in many months, and the best monthly coaching evaluation I’ve had since July; I had four commissioned art projects materialize from thin air; I ate better, I drank less; I tracked everything incessantly in a January bullet journal.

I thought it was The 2021 Caroline.

It would have been nice, for that to be true.

It wasn’t.

February came with strain.

There was a time, probably my entire 20s, when I found it frightening but exhilarating that my brain wasn’t cognizant of my emotions until they arrived at the mercy of my body. I thought it was funny, or some kind of lol aren’t I quirky and interesting? badge. Something to hide behind, like hehe we are all damaged and here is my evidence!

When I was close to 30 I remember a cousin telling me how lovely and relieving this decade of living would be. How certain anxieties melt and there is a new security with the world and your place within it.

30, 31, 32 — absolutely not true. Zero percent true.

33, now, though. I get it. I feel it. I would like to write about those things (buying a house, having a partner, feeling stability) eventually, soon.

And now I am not interested in my body whiplashing the emotions my brain refused to see or acknowledge. I am not interested in having to leave work (virtually or IRL) due to sudden, surprising, inexplicable sobbing. This is not who I want to be. This is not cute.

Back to February, to the strain:

I haven’t ran a single mile this month. I have drank many days. I have watched much television, I have been less compulsive with work, I’ve eaten many french fries. My body asks and asks and asks where is the respite, where is the hibernation.

It is here. It is today. A single PTO Friday, a promise of the new tattoo, a morning with dog paws stretching against my calves, velvet pajamas until noon, looking at spreadsheets of retirement accounts and ignoring text messages and inhale, exhale.

I’m not a podcast person, but I sometimes listen to Headspace and The Daily Shine in the mornings. The Daily Shine had a recent episode about breaking from perfectionism, and aiming for good enough.

I thought to myself well nothing I do is perfect, I am not a perfectionist. I barely meet standards most of the time, my work is literally never as good as it needs to be. And then I looked at that thought and laughed.

Okay, no I didn’t, but today I am looking at that thought and laughing. The unceasing criticism is perfectionism exactly.

But even without laughing, I felt that the sentiment was relevant, and listened to the advice: aim for Good Enough. Is February the same as January? Absolutely not. Is it good enough? Yes. I haven’t been running, but I walk a good bit. I rest a lot. I listen to my body. I am trying to listen to my emotions without the analytics or stifling from my brain.

Am I a perfect advocate, employee, ally, partner, dog owner, artist, friend? No. Am I good enough? Yes. Is this post perfect? Glorious? Will it go viral? No. Is it good enough? Yes. It is something, after not posting for months. It is a practice. Everything is a practice. Everything aiming for good enough.

Mostly the opposite of having my shit together. IG @okaycaroline

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