Perfect is the enemy of good. I really do believe that. I have had it drilled into me by professors who just wanted something, anything from me rather than more endless nattering about how my thesis/story/drawing/sculpture/brief would never be good enough. Because, of course, something is better than nothing in almost all things.
But I struggle to square this principle with my equally firmly held belief that if you do something you ought to do it well. So when I accidentally put MLK day on the wrong day in January or declare Valentine’s Day February 18th*, I feel like a total dope. Like, what clock was I racing against when I put up a calendar with errors? Which is to say, if you have already downloaded Dec-Feb, you may want a redo. If, like me, you have already printed out those months and begun scribbling your obligations on them, you may be inclined, as I am, to accept that Feb 18 is just as good as Feb 14 for Valentine’s Day. (It is easier to get a dinner reservation that night, and flowers and champagne are cheaper.)
Also, I seem to have a block about how to link the giraffes--I have fixed the link twice now, and I hope I will not need the third charmer try. So if you’re waiting on your life to be complete with unnaturally patterned giraffes, the original entry has been updated.
Did I mention it’s my birthday? Yes. Well, today I am 34. Not exactly a milestone birthday. And yet, in a funny way, it does seem like something of a breakthrough. See, I have always had a love-hate relationship with my birthday. As something of an attention sponge, I can’t help but appreciate the no-strings ego stroking that a birthday offers. Still, growing up and its cousin, growing old, have always struck me as exceptionally overrated. My mom tells the story of finding me glum and weepy on my sixth birthday: she asked me what was wrong, and through sobs I answered, “Well, it’s just, I’m six now, and I’m not gonna be cute forever, and...” Yeah, seriously. I offer that story for a couple of purposes: 1) it is succinctly illustrative (so rare!) and 2) it is evidence that as carefully crafted my peculiar brand of crazy may seem to those around me, it is actually rooted in something deeper and more organic, a kind of fundamental suspicion that the best days are behind us. If that were the end of the story, though, this would be a pretty depressing birthday meditation.
In the last few weeks, I have been nothing short of besotted with good things. And with each new piece of good news, I have instinctively looked to the sky--looked for the giant ACME piano that I just knew must be waiting to fall on my head to offset my unreasonable good fortune. And yet. I keep waking up unflattened.
So this year, on my birthday, I am just taking it all in. Grateful for my family, my work, and my friends. And committed to enjoying today, looking ahead. Not up. Or back. Even if I do, occasionally, have to rewind to fix a mistake or two.
*My ego is big, but not so big that I have begun intentionally reassigning the dates of holidays. Yet.