My Dad passed last week. And this week I have many memories coming up about him; things he said and did, what I loved about him and also a few things I didn’t like so much. One of my favorite memories is hearing him call me Goldilocks. Goldy or Goldilocks was my Dad’s nickname for me. Even in his last days, when I would visit him, he would look up, smile and say, “It’s Goldy!” when I walked into the room.
I liked being called Goldy. No one except my dad has ever called me that. So, the nickname passes on with my dad, which is a little sad. But I had many years of being called Goldy or Goldilocks, and the name still makes me smile. Goldy actually referred to the golden blonde hair I had as a child. But Dad also used the name because he said, like Goldilocks, I would search and try out new things until I found the one that was “just right”. So true, so true! I still do that. Apparently I was picky and unwilling to settle even as a young girl. 🙂
I still search and push to find that one “just right” thing. I have found amazing houses to live in because of my constant quest for “just right”. And I love finding just the right restaurant, hiking trail, lawn chair or vacation spot. Searching for “just right” also led me to shift careers and try a lot of different jobs until I zeroed in on a profession that truly suits me. And my inner life is so much richer because of all the spiritual traditions I have explored over the years while searching for one that was just right for me.
But searching for “just right” can also be problematic. I have to be careful that my “just right” search doesn’t degenerate into a search for perfection. Yes, there is a difference between perfect and “just right”. Perfect has an obsessive-compulsive energy to it. When I get locked in perfect mode, it feels absolutely necessary to attain perfection. For example, when writing I sometimes get sucked into searching for the perfect word or phrase. And I feel compelled to keep trying and trying long after a reasonable person would quit. I can waste a ton of energy and make myself completely miserable when I fall into perfect mode.
The search for “just right” is more relaxed than perfection – there’s nothing necessary about finding “just right.” In the fairytale Goldilocks could sleep in any of those beds – she just wants to optimize her comfort! So Goldy takes a few extra minutes to try out every bed. There’s nothing OCD about it. “Just right” is about exploring all the options. “Just right” is nice to have, but not necessary.
My Dad is gone now, exploring in other realms. But while he was here with me, he taught me a lot about life and myself. I love that he found my “just right” quest interesting and amusing. Another parent might have turned this personality trait of mine into a problem. But Dad embraced me and my “just right” quirkiness. I love remembering that.
Happy Travels Dad.