The trap of “good enough”

Your choice

I’m a bit tired today. Behind on my sleep, and with a lot to do on my plate. No worries. The long weekend is coming up, which means I will have time to focus on the things that I’ve been meaning to do, but haven’t gotten a chance, for lack of time and also illness. I’m bouncing back after last weekend, and it’s good. I’ve reached a kind of equanimity with where I’m at, in terms of busy-ness and productivity and 9-to-5 work.

In just over a week, I will be done with two major deadlines. And then I will have a week to sort one other thing out. And then I will be looking for a new job full-on. Not posting my resume on job boards and fielding calls, but updating my resume to look really, really good, and reaching out to recruiters who have jobs posted that are just up my alley.

My plan is to pick up a contract for 6-9 months and to use that time to also get a new business off the ground. There’s a lot of balancing going on, these days, with the new venture… setting expectations on all sides, working out working agreements, and positioning myself to get sales. I’m emailing people daily, calling them, touching base, and keeping pretty busy overall, which can be good, but it’s also very tiring, and I am still trying to figure out how to catch up on my sleep on a regular basis.

There is a LOT to do. One of the main challenges is to not let myself get overwhelmed and distracted by a ton of things I really don’t need to do. A lot of times, I get “in a groove” and I end up doing something way past the time when I should stop. It feels comfortable. It feels familiar. It feels like I’m making progress, but I’m actually getting stuck. Then I wear myself out, and I end up just dropping things, because they’re “good enough”.

Story of my life, thus far — focus on the wrong stuff, work like crazy on those wrong things, and then get exhausted and give up because it’s “good enough”.

It’s an exciting time, to be sure. It’s also a disconcerting time. Because here I am, not exactly a spring chicken anymore, looking back on a life that might have been very different, had I not gotten clunked on the head so often. Looking back to the times when I was brain-injured at age 3… 7… 8… 13… 15… 16… 23… 24… and 39…. I can very clearly recall being set back in ways that messed with my head in more ways than one, and set up patterns of defeat that I have not been able to overcome, till the past few years. Add to that all the times in between when I got slammed whilst playing sports or just living my life, and there were even more “sub” patterns to complicate things.

It wasn’t the mild TBIs that got the better of me. It wasn’t the concussions that make things worse. It was how things were handled afterwards — the confusion, the frustrations, the behavior changes, the logistical problems, the physical problems. It was the cascade of events — and the reactions of others — after the head injuries that did the job on me.

It was all the thoughts inside my head that told me there was something wrong with me, that I was emotionally or mentally damaged, that I was a broken individual who couldn’t be put back together, that I was a wreck, and there was nothing to be done about it. That’s what got me. The stress of it all, the trap of that virulent doubt, and the ultimate resignation to life being “what it is” — and that “what” being something that was a lot less than what others had, and (in my uninformed opinion) would never be more.

Well, now I know better. I’m working towards bigger things, I’m breaking out of that old pattern and finding a better way. And I look at my life, over the past many years, and I think about how often I have just settled. I ran out of steam. I ran out of ideas. I wore myself out. And I couldn’t go on — or so I thought. So, I decided “it’s good enough” and just stopped what I was doing. I dropped it all and went off to read a book or write a story or watch a movie, and never bothered looking back. Because it was over. Done. There was no point in going on. Because I couldn’t.

Well, now things are very, very different. Completely. I’m still tired, but I’m moving on, anyway. And looking ahead at my life, there is no way I want to stay in that same old place the way I was, for so many years… settling for less, and being surrounded by people who so eagerly settled for less, as well. Seriously, one of the things that’s held me back the most over the years, has been the people around me who were of the same opinion as I — that there was something damaged about them, that there was something so limiting and defeating, that resistance to it would be futile… and anyway, there was a lot of fun stuff in the world to entertain them and take their minds off their pain.

Looking around, it seems like that’s pretty much the theme of the world I’m most familiar with — don’t worry so much about doing big things. Just get yours, keep entertained, numb the pain with drugs or alcohol or junk food or a nice shiny toy (or social media on a smartphone), and keep going till you can’t go anymore.

It’s good enough, right?

No way, no how. Not for me, anyway. Once it was, but not anymore. Now I can see how there is so much more that’s possible for myself — and I can actually believe that it’s possible for me to do it. No, not just believe, but really know. Faith and belief have nothing to do with it. The fact that I can follow through and bring my ideas to life is a known fact — I have ample evidence that I can do it, and that I will continue to do it. Hell, I do it every day. I keep on, tired or not, because I can’t live with the thought of going through life with a shadow existence, never having pushed myself really to do the things my heart is set on, watching the rest of the world leave me behind as everyone else pursues their great dreams and visions.

Today “good enough” is nowhere near good enough.



Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

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