"Better is the enemy of good enough." --Voltaire
It's no secret this time of year is hard for a lot of folks.
Even if it’s not that intense for you, or you're not annually looking for the exit, still, who doesn’t have at least some nagging sadness, irritation, anxiousness, exhaustion, or regret this time of year?
No one, that’s who.
Which makes total sense if you look at the recipe for adult existence that has become a holiday tradition for so many.
1). Expectation. Start with an empty bowl and fill it to the brim.
Everyone should have unrelenting happiness, love and joy. Family, party invitations, smiling, not too drunk faces- must-haves. Happy happy happy! Never mind that if there are people around, pretty likely they're the very ones that have perfected various button-pushes for years. Y'know, kind of like the annual sharpening of the spears.
2). Comparison. Mix in the whole bottle.
That family member is successful and you’re not. That old flame is married and you’re not. That one has kids, they still like their parents and they aren’t addicted to whipped cream. You? No, no and no. Those others are fitter, younger, prettier, wealthier. They have all their hair, a savings account, more parties, more friends. That one is enlightened, for crying out loud. You? Pfffft.
3) Self evaluation. Fold in a year's worth.
Look backward. That's always peaceful. How’d you do this year- is this the life you wanted at the end of 2019? Well, look at you alone, again, head deep in the pumpkin pie. Did you achieve, find true love, workout, get out of debt, do well as a parent? 'Course not.
Few of us measure up in the best of times, let alone at this time of “reflection.” Aka, “Another year gone; what have I done.” After all, odds are you’re looking at pretty much the same failures as last year. And the year before that.
4) Future. Bake in those resolutions. Time to fix your life.
Look forward. Make a list of those plans for redemption. Even though you're probably just lining up your failures for next year's step 3 (see above), still, may as well start next holiday season's potential, “You blew it-s” early. Because c'mon, planning fix-its for the future can always be counted on to bring ease, peace and the end of anxiety. Right?
Mix steps 1 through 4 together thoroughly.
Mmmm. Smell the failure and tears along with strong whiskey and/or 420 at this point.
Now that's holiday winning!
And one miserable fruitcake. Not the concoction. You.
Is it any wonder the holidays are less than jolly for so many people? Could there be a more effectively ouch-filled recipe?
Although... if it’s any consolation, despite thought saying, "It’s just you," at least odds are good that everyone else is going through some version of the exact same thing you are. While they're pretending to be joyful, of course. Just like you're doing.
Because for pretty much everyone, the condition of being human comes with thoughts of More, Not Good Enough, and Inadequate Life Accomplishments.
No matter what you’ve actually got, tried or accomplished.
So for a dash of something different, you might consider the following recipe...
Maybe You’re Right Casserole.
It could be you've been right all along, and you are actually not enough. And no one else is either. First, because no one measures up to a fantasy existence where everything is only sweetness, with families singing joy-fueled carols without any glimpse of trigger, or where money, love, happiness, self-esteem and enlightenment are overly plentiful.
And second, because the self is nothing, and nothing can never, by definition, ever be enough.
Because it's nothing.
Nothing is the opposite of enough.
So rather than try so hard to attain not-possible ideals, maybe it's possible to relax into the relief of no-thing, without obligation to fill it with some-thing.
That would be a different kind of menu, one that might come with a side dish of learning to make do with… this. As it is.
Because your imperfect, messed-up-but-always-interesting personality might just be the ideal personification of what it is to be human.
Which means you fit right in. Perfectly imperfect as you are.
What a crazy concept!
Kinda sweet though. Like dessert. And you.
That's why I’m wishing you a giant slice of ‘So What, This Is Good Enough’ pie.
With extra As-You-Are a la mode.
And it's why, from one fruitcake to another,
I'm also wishing you love,
and happy good enough.
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"What is the secret of your serenity?"
Said the master: "Wholehearted cooperation with the inevitable."
-Anthony De Mello