“A sobering thought: what if, at this very moment, I am living up to my full potential? ”

Jane Wagner

My life is an ongoing struggle between ‘proper’ and ‘good enough’. Sometimes I want to do something right or not at all, and sometimes I seem to settle on sufficient.  I continually strive for perfectionism but seldom achieve such.  It’s sort of like being an optimist who often falls flat.

This afternoon I am going to try (for the umpteenth time) to make onion soup. I have grown despondent over the years of making a proper at-home version of this most delectable potage.  The ‘proper’ side of me thinks (and fears) there is a precise formula for French Onion Soup, a magical precise incantation of heat, ingredients, and cooking process that if missed by an inch makes the soup fail creates failure. The other approach, the ‘good enough’ philosophy says so long as the soup doesn’t come out putrid that makes it OK. All this precise nuance isn’t necessary; cooking is not a complicated password that if missed by an iota won’t open.

Cooking is one example of good-enough vs. just-right; weight-lifting is another. I have an uneasy sense there is a right combination of diet, frequency of lifts, timing etc. that translates into success and anything else is the equivalent to wasting my time.  On the other hand, some gym seems better than no gym, right?  Besides, it’s jolly good fun.

Ironing shirts and trousers definitely falls into the ‘good enough’ category, although Someone would disagree. As a rule he irons his own clothes (and he does do a better job I must say).

“Proper” cocktails are the rule for ’good enough’ manhattans, margaritas, martinis and non-M libations are immediate recognized and rejected by my persnickety tastebuds. I’ve learned in dive bars and with suspiciously untrained bartenders not to order such potations but stick to can’t-go-wrong bottles of beer or just straight whisky (proper lager, no rubbish).

Rolling down grass hills is any form, style, and duration is always “good enough” and better than none at all.  I thought pizza was likewise until I had PizzaPizza in Toronto which was quite the exception to the rule.

Today I will go to the gym, tidy the house, fold the laundry, and iron some shirts settling on ‘good enough’ without disappointment.  As for French onion soup, I am going to try a ‘no-brainer’ crockpot version.  Proper cooks may sneer or groan but I have my fingers crossed it will be ‘good enough’.  This one calls for beer, which portends it will be quite good enough. Now I have to worry about getting a proper beer, no rubbish.  This nonsense never ends.

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