Blog, Mental Health, Self Discovery

Good enough


I admit it, things have a been a little slow over on One Empty Shelf recently. Inspiration hits all at once, then leaves me dry, hanging, sometimes for weeks at a time. And during those weeks, I’ve been getting a little complacent. I’ve been tempted, lured down the path of feeling that everything is, well, OK. It’s fine. It’s good enough.

And that’s a problem.

Good enough is fine.
Fine is OK.
OK isn’t amazing.
OK isn’t fantastic.

OK, is, well, halfway. It’s not quite there. It’s ‘it’ll do’. I don’t want my life to be a long string of ‘it’ll do’. I want my life to be incredible. I want it to be amazing. I want it to be worth living, an endless adventure. So why is it so hard to get out of the mindset of ‘good enough’?

When things aren’t going wrong, it’s tempting to kid ourselves that they’re actually going right. But making progress, moving forwards to where we want to be, is an entirely different ball game from things being just fine. Fine is our comfort zone. And when we’re comfortable, good enough tends to be just that. Enough. But barely.

What about those big dreams, those huge plans, the ones that flood the skies with joy and blind us with excitement? What about the truth that lies deep inside our souls, waiting to be spread through the world, dipping and soaring and taking our essence along with it? Good enough floats along, eddying in beige half-light. Good enough has not a care in the world. Good enough waits and watches every second of that important time fly on by, with a benign smile and marshmallow thoughts.

Good enough isn’t good enough for me.

I feel the anger at my impotence start to bubble, deep down low. I feel frustration at inaction, months of flippant shrugs, dismissive plans, half-ideas and dispassionate conversation.
I dig deep and feed that fire and bring those feelings to the surface, living through them tenfold. I build that wave, gathering all that latent energy, hoping against hope to build a way to drag me out of the bubble, the ‘good enough’ bubble, where things are just OK and just fine and…just. so. cloying.

The wave needs to be big, really big. A tsunami of emotion, a big push, a massive call to action for this colourless soul. I’ve tried riding this tide before, the swell dying away before I reach land, watching hopes and dreams waving to me from the shoreline.

Gather solid, truthful reason. Catch that ‘why’ that’s fluttering around your head, and bury it deep inside. Add a pinch of momentum, a pathway of ever-bigger steps, and shake it all about. Feel the emotion within and add a liberal splash of colour. Enhance and amplify, feel the swell, feel your reason burn and linger in that moment. Stand up and promise that this wave will drag you out of ‘OK’, wash you up on that tideline, fresh and clean and still moving forwards, to action, to future.

I fuel my imagination and fire up that tool, my strength, my superpower. Take my flimsy reasons and shock myself with a real, truthful, bare why. A real why. One I can’t ignore. I paint bright, vivid colours and grab that inaction, fistfuls of false starts and all the frustrations that go alongside.

I add it to the wave and stir and stir and stir.



4 thoughts on “Good enough

  1. “Enough” is an idea I struggle with, too, and which I’ve been thinking and writing about as well. I think we can view “enough” in a couple of different ways: one, it can be symbolic of complacency, lack of growth, or stifled inspiration, and a need to find the big wave, as you describe. My struggle is different, I think, though might be related: putting so much pressure on myself to be more-than-enough, more-than-ok, in everything that I slip off the surfboard altogether. How can we balance these seemingly competing agendas in a way that we’re growing without overtaxing ourselves? I wonder if this is one of those quintessentially human questions…what do you think? (And thanks for your blog, too. I’ve been a long-time reader, and I love your essays.)

    1. Thank you Adriana 🙂

      I think it’s true we struggle to be more than enough. We can look at it in different ways, with different eyes and different pros and cons…

      One way, enough, fine, OK… One type of enough embodies stagnation, not wanting to move forward, holding ourselves back.

      But increasingly, there is another type of enough. One that society tells us is no good. We have to be seen to be increasingly more than, better than, because enough is never enough any more. Buy more, take more on, become superhuman. We ‘should’ be feeling this. It’s ‘normal’ to do this.

      When is enough, well, enough?

      Your comment made me think a lot, and I’m not sure yet of the answer. I think we need to listen to ourselves, and try and identity those times when we’re feeling we must push ourselves to live up to others expectations…. And those times we must push ourselves through our own, individual choice. Have the confidence to make that conscious choice, if you know in your heart it’s you, and only you, making that choice.

      I’m off to think some more about it! Thank you for inspiring me :):)

      P.s I love your blog. Looking forward to reading more 🙂

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