Most of the time, I’m tired. I’m worn out. I don’t always feel at ease. I feel confused and at times, directionless. I can’t remember the last time I allowed myself to be completely still — body, mind, and soul.
I’m still clenching tightly to fear and uncertainty of the future. I’m still running around in circles, chasing after things that people thought I couldn’t have and not liking myself for it.
I’m tired of living in panic mode. I’m tired of berating myself and saying I’m not good enough. I’m tired of feeling inferior to those who seem to have already attained everything that everybody envies, everything they’ve always wanted in such a short amount of time — a lucrative source of passive income, unparalleled creativity, and intelligence that’s almost at a supernatural level, which couldn’t have been attained with experience or intense studying.
But as the days go by, the more I realize that I haven’t defined what my personal “good enough” is.
I’ve avoided it for so long because I’m afraid that defining what’s good enough for me will keep me stagnant or make me complacent in shooting too low. I don’t get much done (compared to other people), even when I know I’m just a beginner and other people are experts at what they’re insanely talented at. I hate being average, but at the same time, I know I can’t move forward from paralysis if I constantly neglect my inner self for the sake of trying to keep up with everyone else out of fear that I’d lose in an unspoken competition.
I realize that even when I feel like I’m unable to cope with existential dread, I still don’t want retreat to my former self. I don’t want to take whatever I can get just to hover above the bare minimum.
I never want to go back to paying my dues and doing what’s easy but not right for me. I don’t way to fill my time with things that don’t mean anything to me. I don’t just want to get by, and the dreamer in me still wants to explore uncharted territories that are still unclaimed by other people, but to do so, I’d have to do that in my own way.
There’s much work to be done, and I must face what I’ve been ignoring for so long. I’ve started to write more within the past half year, but I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of my own soul and still have further to go.
All the thoughts I have on society, the future, tech, the economy, and uncovered depths of my own psyche have yet to be written. I want to be a writer because on the days I don’t write, I feel so empty and restless, aching to write something but my harsh critic keeps telling me what I think the “real experts,” the people who are disappointed by me, and most people would say — that I’m not doing enough, that I’m not talented enough, that I can’t amount to anything, that I don’t have the magnetizing skills like so-and-so, which means I shouldn’t bother trying.
Some days, I write a lot, but most of the time, all I can do is escape into the void again and watch other people live their best lives as I keep shivering on the outside, lurking in the shadows, devoid of any light within. And I don’t like it. I’m itching to create more and I do have so much more to give, but some invisible force keeps pushing me down and suffocating the creative spirit within me. I’m out of touch with myself, but when I do recognize this, I feel paralyzed again, trapped in the full yet empty depths of my own mind, which keeps battling against enemies I haven’t conquered yet because I’m too afraid of losing.
Do I love myself enough to take a leap of faith and spring forward as if nothing can hold me back? To leap as if nothing can make me regress to my old self, the self that was too afraid to make any significant change, out of the fear that as she was, she couldn’t prove that she was qualified enough to take a chance of a lifetime and make that lifetime her own?
I digress. Maybe my expectations are too high and all along, I never actually fully defined what was “good enough” for myself. I had a vague idea floating around but I never wrote it down or put it into words I could understand or break it down into the simplest of steps that could possibly minimize my fears of insurmountable adversities — both from the unknown out there and the unknown within me. I didn’t visualize it clearly. I didn’t flesh out the details, which was why I couldn’t wrap my mind around what exactly would make me feel “good enough” because part of me feels ashamed of seeking a “good enough” from external sources, which I knew others would judge me for.
What is “good enough” for me?
It’s not about chasing after “a dream life” or trying to sculpt my life into a miniature replica of someone else’s. To me, defining what’s good enough is all about establishing a baseline, so that I’m not influenced by what other people define as success and how they blow it out of proportion — I’m a fairly simple person and while I can be ambitious, I do not think that being a New York Times bestseller, a viral blogger, or a super flawless fashion influencer is going to make me happier than I am now.
Here’s what’s good enough for me:
- A good enough income for me is $2,500 per month.
- A good enough job for me involves a variety of gigs combined, mainly writing online and tutoring mathematics (due to me having chronic fatigue and endometriosis, remote work would suit my needs better).
- A good enough housing situation for me is a tiny ranch house in a small rural town where the mortgage can be significantly lower than rent in a city.
- A good enough car is not applicable to me because I’ve been living without one quite well (good riddance to high maintenance bills, oil changes, registration fees, property taxes, driving in the rain, insurance, adding gas, worrying too much about the serpentine belt, belts and hoses, the gasket, or some other part blowing up, etc.).
- A good enough travel plan to me is important, but not the mission of my life because I’m quite content with traveling a few times a year. I’d rather create a life I never need to escape from first and foremost and really make sure I’m not just “running away from something” before I consider traveling or being out on the road.
- A good enough day to me involves writing articles (of course), editing, drinking coffee, meditating outside, drawing, cooking simple yet savory meals, gardening, taking photos of nature, listening to music, making music, working on books, and journaling — and, ahem, minimizing how much I spend comparing myself to other people because the truth is, I’m not worse than them; I’m just different and it is only fair to myself to choose what’s right for me, regardless of how underwhelming it is.
Find your “good enough”
Examine your life as it is right now and take note of what’s causing you to feel unhappy. Be honest with how much you compare yourself to others and envy what they have — rather than shaming yourself for it, use it as an indicator of how you’re neglecting yourself and what you think you should have, which may or may not be what you want deep down inside, but it all depends on what you want your life’s foundation to be laid upon. You can want as much or as little as you can reasonably attain, but only if you do it to free yourself from the heaviness of shame, not for any other ulterior motive.
It all must be done for the betterment of your future self, grounded by the love of who you are now.