Jonathan and I enjoyed a dutch-treat lunch at the neighborhood Hy-Vee supermarket’s deli the other day. We both ordered veggie-burgers, thick-cut fries, and lettuce salads. The prices were higher than we expected, but not exhorbitant. The salads’ greens had the normal amount of crispness with no sogginess; the fries were crunchier than expected; and the burgers were more moist than regular veggie burgers. The waiter was pleasant and helpful. Jonathan and I judged our meals as better than average but not exceptional. We felt that we got our money’s worth–no more and no less.
My friend and I agree that the act of living an unremarkable day having a hearty, but otherwise unremarkable meal is a good way to spend our time together. Jonathan said, “OK is OK”.
As I ponder the ordinariness of the time we spent together during and after that lunch, I agree that OK really is OK. Nobody was trying to one-up the other. Neither of us were trying to be someone we aren’t. The meal was delicious but not of five-star quality. Neither of us were expanding our comfort zones nor climbing out of our behavior boxes. We were just going through an OK day in an OK manner. You might say that we felt comfortable in our own skins.
While I’m a firm believer in personal development and self-improvement; I don’t believe in going overboard. There is a tipping point where self-improvement morphs into escapism. A person can easily become entrapped within the personal development paradigm. This causes many people to lose sight of their core selves. This is not to say that I advocate harboring apathy about the world and complacency about one’s own well-being. Far from it–a steady pace towards the never-ending goal of becoming the best version of oneself is how I try to live life.
In our berserk world where we are told that we must behave in exceptional ways. We are supposed to suffer defeat and grieve in certain ways. We are supposed to love in institutionally proscribed ways. We are expected to constantly strive towards some idealized state of perfection. We are supposed to be our authentic selves, whatever that means.
The fact is that we are imperfect creatures. We evolved to hate, love, experience suffering, and feel joy. Isn’t all of this the point of life? Isn’t a nice aspect of being human simply being content with ourselves?
As in any journey, one must pause for rest and recreation. All work and no play make Jay a dull boy. I don’t feel compelled to seek out the Hollywood hero lifestyle. Some days I couldn’t care less if the sunrise and sunset are picture perfect. Sometimes an unremarkable lunch with a trusted pal is all that’s needed to make me feel grateful to be alive.
If all of this seems somehow “woke” to some members of a certain political belief system, so what? Wannabe rulers invent perjoratives with the idea that it’s not OK to be OK with working towards making the world an OK place for everyone. Sometimes we forget that we need all kinds of people in the world. Sometimes, we need to cut ourselves and everyone else some slack. It’s good to remember that life is impermanent. It’s good to remember that life doesn’t have to be so serious and regimented.
It’s good to be OK with the ways of the world. If you discover you’re in the wrong story, it’s OK to leave. As long as we are not harming others nor disavowing other people’s rights to seek joy, nobody really gives an absolute F about us anyway.
In the end, it’s our mindset and prejudices that make up our worldview. Our beliefs make things ugly or beautiful. Our lives are lived within our minds. We can give ourselves permission to be OK with being OK.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes former professional tennis player, Michael Chang. “As long as there’s pasta and Chinese food in the world, I’m OK.”
This was wonderful. Written in the Divine consciousness that that an “unremarkable lunch with a trusted pal” is unreachable by most of this world’s citizens and a goodly number of our own (myself included).
Many “influencers” would find this scenario unworthy of mention.
And yet they would come away from such feeling nourished and contented as they never now do.
Luckily for us, the fantastic, wonderful, amazing, awesome do not happen all that often. If they did they would no longer be, f,w,a,a any more. OK is still a very, very satisfying place to be. The positive vibes make us feel a sense of contentment and well-being. In this balance of things, we also need our moments of sadness too. Through those times we learn to embrace the “OK” with welcoming arms. And when the wonderful does arrive, make the most of it and then let it go so you can return to the special OK of OKness.
I believe that if we feel gratitude for the mundane, everyday stuff, we’re mentally healthy.