When the best isn’t good enough

It was my goal when I started this blog to write everyday. I wanted to document all the ups and downs of my life and I have them everyday. I wanted to develop the habit of writing. My hope was that by developing this habit that I would become a better writer and that it would become easier.

To some extent, that has been the case. To some extent it has not. Like much of my life, it is a mixed bag. Blogging has helped me. It has facilitated a better life than the one I was leading before I started but still hasn’t met my expectations.

So is that failure or is that success?

If I had no expectations I would never feel disappointment. Keeping my expectations to a minimum has been key to my happiness. Still, without the expectation that writing a blog was something worth doing, I never would have done it at all. This is hard, it’s scary and it’s really fucking time consuming!

It’s like a trap. The expectations are essential to me even being willing to try and create positive change. Yet, because of these expectations, nothing will ever be good enough. Is there any question why people are frustrated, angry and unsatisfied?

Buddhism actually has an answer to this. Perhaps other religions do as well but it is what I have learned from Buddhism that resonates with me the best. Buddhism teaches us to let go of expectations. In essence to let go of our attachment to any particular outcome. We are asked to live in the moment, a moment where everything is exactly as it is meant to be and it is good enough.

Well… with all due respect, in this moment all I can think of to say is, “Fuck that!”

Maybe I’m just not satisfied with good enough. Maybe good enough is not good enough for me. Maybe I want my passion and my drive to make things better. Maybe I want to be the best me I can be. I’ve heard is said and I know what it means that, “The best is the enemy of the good”, but I don’t care. I can accept that things may never be good enough, but I cannot accept not trying my best.

So every day I try my best. Perhaps that is just what I do. Perhaps that is my habit. It’s just that my physical and mental state can vary greatly from day to day. Some days my best is amazing. Some days my best is downright shitty. Some days my best can’t even manage to write a blog post. Some days writing a blog post is the best I can do. Some days I am capable of so much more and writing a blog post just seems like a waste of my time.

So I don’t know if it is trying my best which has led to these inconsistencies or that my life is inconsistent and that has led me to always try my best. I truly believe that is possible to have a consistently “good enough” life but I guess I’ve decided that my way is better… at least for me.

Marilyn Monroe Quotes - My best

Do what you do

After realizing that life has no meaning or purpose other than life itself; after realizing that I have no choice but to live I am faced with the question of how. I have given myself permission to just do it.

I play in a rock band so Saturday night I played a show. I spent all day getting ready not because I wanted everything to be perfect but because it’s what I do. I had no expectations and nothing to prove. I was just going to do what I do. I made some mistakes, not everything was perfect but it was by all accounts a great show. People loved it and I loved the accolades but I would have done it regardless of whether anyone cared. It’s just what I do.

After a show I’m often asked if I had fun and I routinely say, “Yeah, it was a blast!”. Honestly, I don’t even know if I enjoy playing shows. I know if I’m not playing shows I’m disatisfied but I don’t think I play shows because I find them fun. I think being me is fun. I think I play shows because it’s what I do.

On Sunday I drove pedicab for the Vikings-Packers game at the Metrodome. I enjoyed being able to help lost out-of-towners get back to their hotel. I enjoyed giving a ride to a woman who was headed to my very first apartment building in Minneapolis. I enjoyed being the highlight of some people’s day, although I must admit that for Vikings fans, the bar is pretty low.

I’m often asked if I love my job. I tell them that I do, very much. This is way too much work.  I could never do it if I didn’t love it. I think underlying this question is a sense of guilt. Some people express this by stating that they wish they could help me pedal. I tell them to just relax and enjoy the ride. Just let me do what I do. They will have a chance to do what they do when the ride is over.

Friday night and last night I drank until four in the morning. I do enjoy drinking and I’m pretty good at it. It’s what I do when I don’t have anything else to do. In many ways it serves the same purpose as playing shows or driving pedicab. It’s just a lot more fun. When I’m drunk I can just be me. When I’m drunk I live in a world without fear and with no consequences. When I’m drunk I can do anything I want… except play music or drive pedicab.

But I am not what I do. What I do is thoughtless, it is habit. Life is not found in our habits but in what happens when we are really paying attention. I’m going to do what I do but I don’t want to mistake that for living. I don’t want to confuse what I do with who I am. I am a vessel for life.


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