Just good enough

When I was in high school, I played the flute. I started in fourth grade and played up through my senior year. I loved it. I struggled at first, but after that first year, I mastered the basics. I learned my scales and arpeggios. I played pieces to build up my technical prowess. I auditioned for many bands in the area. At some point in high school I played for a wind ensemble and in my senior year, was first chair. I took lessons from a woman in the area and enjoyed them well enough.

However, I never took it to the next level, because I never practiced. I never really delved into music theory or played any other music for fun. I coasted on whatever natural talent I had, never really pushing myself to get even better. I was satisfied with what I could do right then and there without putting forth extra effort to improve.

I’ve done this with other things I’m interested in as well. Knitting, web development, and even running, I’ve just been satisfied with my current level. I figure I know ‘enough’ about something, so why bother continuing if it’s that much more work?

(This is not to say I’ve never been proud of myself for any of my accomplishments. I’m proud of myself for even getting up and running what I run, and proud I’ve finished three 5ks. I’m proud that I was principal flute in the bands in which I played. I’m not undermining the achievements I have accomplished already.)

I see me doing this with running. Before this week, I hadn’t run much, maybe once a week at the most. I hit the point where I knew I could do it, and, I just stopped working harder to get better. I made the goal back in May that I’d run a 5k without stopping to walk, and here I am in December, wanting the same thing, only because I didn’t run much all summer or fall.

This past week, I dragged myself out of bed twice, and ran in the morning before work. I enjoyed both runs and felt great the rest of the day. I felt happy and proud of myself that I left the comfort of my warm bed and ran outdoors in 20-30 degree weather. I’m putting forth more effort, and I like it.

I’ve decided I don’t want to be ‘just good enough’ with the things that cause me joy. I want to be great and throw myself into what I love. Some things I’m content to be ‘just good enough’, but for others, I want to take that step.