Friday, December 30, 2011

Blemishes are Beautiful

This New Year's Eve, I am resolving to embrace being an under-achiever. For so long it wasn't enough to run, I had to run fast and far. I couldn't simply play the banjo, I had to master it. If I didn't bike to work every day, I was a slacker. And as a result, things that should be fun became work. Actually, I often had more fun at work than when I was working at having fun. (Go ahead, read that last sentence again, it's convoluted.)

But this year, I am going to give myself permission to shoot a bit lower. I'm going to recognize that imperfect is, actually, plenty good enough. I'm going to accept the honor of the "Gentle(wo)man's C." I know what you're thinking: who wants to emulate George Bush? But other notable underachievers include Eero Saarinen (another C student at Yale), Steven Spielberg (rejected by film schools three times), Marilyn Monroe (dropped by her first studio) and Beethoven (his music teacher said he was "hopeless"). Lucille Ball's mother once got a note from her daughter's acting teacher saying that she was so bad that the tuition was a waste of money.

So I'm not a very good cook, but I can try to learn a few new (and forgiving) dishes. True, I have no sense of musical meter, but that just means my waltzes are jaunty and my ditties complex. A slow three mile run has me outside the woods for just as long as a blazing six mile one, with the bonus of not feeling like throwing up at the end. Maybe it requires the occasional day squished onto a mildewy Metro car to truly appreciate the freedom of biking in on other days. Dog hair tumbleweeds in the hallway can signify more than just the need to vacuum; they demonstrate that this is a household filled with unconditional love.

So here's to going part way. Cheers to taking a break. Huzzah for long languorous afternoons of not getting anything accomplished at all. It's time to celebrate enjoying something without mastering it, giving permission to put it down when it's not fun, and realizing that sometimes the smart thing to do is just have a chocolate (or two) instead. As that talentless redhead once said, "It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy." Happy New Year, Lucille.