Friday, August 13, 2010

I Don't Do My Best

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of my energy attempting to do everything to the best of my ability. And that is what I tell my own children: do your best. Your best is always good enough. So I guess I'm a bit of a hypocrite, in that, I slack. Not only do I slack, but lately, I've been coaching others in the art of slacking. It is a brilliant antidote to high blood pressure.

It started in college. Every semester, I'd take the B-path in the class that demanded the most. By underachieving in that class, it would free up hours of study each week, leaving me ample free time to hit the parties, join a club, or lay around my dorm room watching Quantum Leap. Don't tell my kids this, but straight A's are overrated. If that's all you get out of college, you miss out.

If I devoted myself to it, I'm sure I could have a lovely, immaculate home that would be the envy of all my friends. But I don't. Instead I figure that as long as you're drinking my wine, and playing my RockBand, you aren't going to complain about the pile of old mail on the kitchen counter or the toothpaste splatters on the bathroom mirror. So far, most guests are willing to return, and good riddance to the ones that weren't. I hope I'm contributing to my friends' housekeeping satisfaction; when they get back to their dust and cobweb-free homes, they probably feel like Martha Stewart.

I don't subscribe to the do-more, be-more, have-more lifestyle that Oprah and Self offer. I think fun, love, and contentment dwell in cutting loose those pressures and savoring "enough." I don't need to win Mother of the Year, gain public recognition in my profession; I don't need to be the prettiest, smartest, or even the nicest. I accomplished enough of that crap before the age of 18 to know it doesn't matter in the long run, or make you a better person. Now I prefer the lower-stress strategy of "do enough, well enough, to be able to look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day." As long as my husband, my kids, and my Lord are content with me, I am, too.

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun .Ecclesiastes 2:11

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