When Good Enough Is Just Fine


I wish I’d known earlier when to leave well enough alone. I wonder why it takes me so long to learn when to quit. When we try and try again and things keep turning out the same, conventional wisdom says to try some more. The trouble is that’s a solution that doesn’t fix every problem.

Leaving a thing alone is sometimes the only answer. Forced to do that, we look back at everything we’ve tried and then we look ahead and see that things often work out the way they’re meant to. Maybe not the way we hoped for or tried for, but still, things worked out.

The bigger trick for me now is to be content with the outcome achieved. Being content with what is takes me a while.

Contentment must be the most mature of all emotions. Extremes are much more familiar. There’s happy on one side and sad on the other, and when I was younger, I thought “content” was some giant middle ground that meant settling for less. Content was merely “good enough.”

A relative in the Deep South, when asked at the table if he’d like another helping, often answered, “No thank you. I have had a sufficiency.” Today that sounds like brilliance. Something that should be printed up and passed around.

When all the dreaming, wishing, striving and pushing don’t lead to the goal, maybe it’s time to stop, sit on it, think on it, see if there’s been any progress, and see if we can live with where we are right now.

I’m grateful for this growing feeling that some things are in their rightful places and those that aren’t can’t all be fixed by me. I’m trying to learn some tough lessons about accepting things as they are for right now and that right now may be good enough.

Go ahead and offer me a helping of contentment. Today I’ll say yes, please. Contentment sounds like a state of bliss. Good enough doesn’t always feel like a compromise. It often feels like contentment, and that feels like the best possible outcome.

Ó Anita Garner 2008








Disney’s New Princesses

Cinderella was the first movie I ever saw. While I watched it over and over again, my brother was in a neighboring theatre watching The Sands of Iwo Jima just as many times.  After leaving the theatre, the best I could do to keep the dream alive was sing those movie songs at home. 


Of course when my own daughter came along, seeing Cinderella together was a crucial rite of passage.


Fifty years after I first saw the movie, I recently ordered Cinderella on DVD for a little girl I’m fond of, but before handing it over I had to check out all the special features, including interviews with the animation team who put the story together and the stories behind the songs.


Did you know that’s Mike Douglas singing the role of the Prince?  And Perry Como debuted songs from the movie on his television show even before it opened?  


Finally we sat down to watch, my daughter, my three year old granddaughter and me.


Those birds and mice still put together a heckuva ball gown.  The cat is still sneaky and the stepmother is still the epitome of mean.


But oh that music!  The fairy tale soprano singing A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makesthe chirpy animals singing about “Cinderelly” while trying to help her get to the ball, Sing Sweet Nightingale at the music lesson, and the Prince and Cinderella dancing to So This Is Love 


For our youngest family member, it’s the “Godmudder” who takes her fancy with the song, Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.


The little girl I’m spending time with today doesn’t really want to watch for more than a few minutes at a time. She wants to be Cinderella.  Cinderella is more than a movie.  It’s her own personal script. It’s that way too with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and Ariel and Belle from Beauty & The Beast. Their likenesses exist on every item of merchandise a little girl wears, sleeps with, eats from and carries off to preschool.


She has her own DVD players for the car and home.  Her own CD collection for the road zips inside a holder that looks like a ladybug and unfolds to reveal all of the traditional nursery rhymes set to music – and now the Disney soundtracks.  


Her friends have Princess Parties.  And the Magic Kingdom has elaborate parties of their own.  I know one little girl who traveled from Manhattan to Disneyland with her family to attend.  


In my granddaughter’s interactive world, the two words we hear most often are:  Pause it.  If we’re lucky, it’s three, Pause it please.


Pause it please.  Let me get my princess skirt.  Pause it please.  Let me get my tiara.  Pause it.  Magic wand.  Pause it.  Watch me dance. Pause it please.  I want to sing that song.


When I was a girl, I could watch the princesses only on a Saturday down at the Alex Theatre.  Today every girl becomes a princess.  Smart move, Disney.


Ó Anita Garner 2008