Whenever you run into someone you haven’t seen in a while, what’s the first thing they ask you? “Hey, how are things going?” And by “things” they could be referring to any number of areas of your life. If you work, they probably mean work. If you are raising kids, then they are including that. Basically, they are asking if you are happy and fulfilled in your life. And what we say is “oh good” or “great, everything’s great.” But what we are really thinking on the inside is usually “fine, I guess,” often just “eh,” and sometimes “terribly, if you must know.”
Of course nobody wants to hear that. And who can blame them? Hopefully the “good” and “fine” times outnumber the “terrible.” But is “fine” fine? Is “okay” okay? Or should we want/demand more?
I know life can’t be perfect all the time. I’m not some romanticizing, irrational idealist (okay, that maybe isn’t completely true. I have certainly been accused of being as much, and worse, including, but not limited to, “sappy”). But how much of “good enough” is just life, and how much of it can be changed or avoided? I’d rather be content than miserable, but settling when it could be better is no kind of happiness either.
I recently read an article about a guy that is giving up fast food. When asked why, he said “it just doesn’t satisfy me. I was only eating it out of habit or convenience. I thought I wanted it, but the truth was that every time I ate it, it just made me feel terrible. It’s not good. I thought it was or, I guess, hadn’t paid enough attention to the fact that it wasn’t. But now that I’ve given it up, there is no looking back.”
This made me think about the last time I ate fast food, which was a double Whopper at Burger King (no tomato), about a week ago, if you must know. And fries. And a drink. And I remember being excited to get it, and thinking I really wanted it. After a couple of bites in, I was no longer excited, and by about halfway through, I was completely disgusted with myself (though that didn’t prevent me from finishing it; I’m only human).
But that made me think about the last time I ate at Burger King before that. And I had a similar order. And I remember having a very similar experience.
And the same was true for the time before that.
And the time before that.
And that made me realize that I actually can’t remember the last really good fast-food experience I had, where, after finishing, I thought “wow, that was really delicious. And what’s more, I feel like a million bucks!!!” That’s probably because it has never happened.
And that made me think about what else is just “good enough” in my life. What are my other metaphorical cheeseburgers? Is there anything else I could or should be giving up? How about you?