Growing up in Los Alamos, I often heard the phrase, “Good enough for Government work.”
What that meant to me was, the low bid won, and sub par was A-okay. Basically, if you get tired or frustrated, it was totally acceptable to move on.
I am not a perfectionist, I never have been. While I strive to be skilled at some things — perfect is rarely on my plate.
I like to participate, and I’m more of an enthusiast for the things I do. I will admit that, in one or two instances, I’ve worked for, and achieved, expert status. I’m pretty good at some things, but I’ve master nothing.
Ask Ken, and he will tell you, I like certain things, a certain way. But this is not perfectionism – I like certain things a certain way, because certain things, should be done a certain way.
I’m also totally fine with moving on, and saying — that’s good enough.
Perhaps this is why I can easily quit reading a book half way through it, or continue making something that is far from blue ribbon quality. I’m also quick to give up on math problems, and I don’t exactly follow a recipe when cooking.
This is also why I’ve been trying to lose 10 pounds since 1973.
Things usually turn out okay and if they don’t — so what? I’m not a rocket surgeon.
When I do complain about things not “being perfect,” it has more to do with my comfort, than my skills.
For instance, we have a great view, but, it’s not perfect. There are power lines in sight, and the neighbours employees park their cars in front of the house all day long. It drives me batty.
This does not mean I’m not grateful for what we have. I am!
It’s just not “perfect.”
This brings me to the experimental quilt I just finished.
I’m learning a new technique. I wasn’t that invested in the fabric or the story, so when I noticed a mistake, instead of ripping it out, I kept sewing. I wanted to move on. I knew it was crappy, but it was good enough! I continued sewing. I can quit a book, but not a quilt.
But, as I continued on the experiment, I got lazier and lazier. Since I screwed up one part, and moved on, I started taking less and less care as I continued.
I started thinking of the next quilt. I knew I had learned from this one, and thought I wouldn’t make the same mistake or be as careless going forward.
Like a horse heading for the barn, I just wanted to finish this one. I wanted to move on to the next quilt I have in mind.
Now, that it is finished, I look at this experiment and have to say, I really like it. Truth be told, it is hard to ruin a quilt!
Oh, I’d be embarrassed if another quilter ever saw it. The workmanship is shit, but the quilt itself is lovely, I slept under it the other night. It would also make a fine dog bed!
I guess it’s good enough for government work! And after an email exchange with a friend, I realize, while it won’t win a prize — it is good enough to be a prize.
Being authentic in life and in art is important and hard. I’m just being me when I say “that is good enough”.