It's OK to be Just OK

January 13, 2017

It has happened to me a lot lately. Someone asks me how I'm doing and I shrug and smile and say "I'm okay"

"Just okay?" They ask.

It happens often enough that I've got some answers ready. "Sometimes okay is an upswing." or "After the year I've had, okay feels like a win."

OK, in one of the folk legends surrounding it's origin, stands for zero killed. Fabled shorthand between wartime pilots stating that a mission had been accomplished with no causalities. It has become a staple in our communication. And some days it fits.

I'm not great. I'm not thriving. I'm not kicking life's ass today. But you know what? It's not kicking mine. I'm OK. literally and figuratively there are zero kills in my life right now.

Friend, there is nothing wrong with just okay. In fact, I am convinced that as our sick heads and battered hearts drag bodies of death through a world of grief, sometimes "okay" is a pretty big win.

Once on a family bike ride my young son's bike slipped on some gravel at high enough speed to do some damage. The bike went one way, and he went the other, skidding across a gravel parking lot without a moments notice. As his father and I dismounted our bikes and ran to his aid he bounced up off the ground, a little dusty and scraped up, and shouted "I'm OK. " He wasn't great. He wasn't peachy keen. The gravel had hurt. His small body had collided with the earth in an audible thump. But he was OK. He was ready to get back on his bike and continue the journey. What better outcome could we have asked for than just ok?

Sometimes life is bright and gratitude comes easy and all feels good and right in the world. Other days are more of a struggle. Sometimes we hit the ground with an audible thud and the dust burns our eyes and the best and bravest thing we can do is keep moving forward. Sometime just ok is a win.

Please don't ask me to put on a happy mask and pretend things are great if they aren't. And don't ask one another to always be on the mountaintop and never in the valley. That's not how this journey called life works.

Let's give each other the sacred space to experience whatever we are experiencing today. Let's allow one another to be good or fine or just ok. Or amazing or awful or holding on by a thread.

Friends, it is okay to be just okay.

And one more thing, in case you need to hear this today: it's also okay to be not okay. To sit uncertain for a moment while the dust settles and then reach out for someone to help you to your feet.

Wherever you are today, however you are feeling, whatever your truest response to "how are you?" would be, there is space for that.


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5 comments

  1. Thank you, needed this now after surgery!! Your blog is very inspiring! Bless You!

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  2. Ok is ALWAYS an acceptable option. The world is not full of rainbows, puppies, and unicorn farts. When I (or anyone else) answers the basic small talk with an honest answer of "Ok", we should feel honored that they feel safe enough to be honest with us instead of having to hide behind the often "fake" tone that small talk can tend to take.

    In the wise words of Penny from Big Bang Theory: "Yeah, it’s a perfectly good word. I mean, you put it in front of dokay and you really got something."

    Sorry....I use humor as my defense/avoidance mechanism.

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