Fixing Families

Tools for walking the intergenerational tightrope

10 Questions for a Good-Enough Life

Walking that line between accepting and changing

I recently read a review of Adam Phillips new book, Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life. The notion here is one of a good-enough life, one where we don’t spend our time obsessively analyzing our character or our faults, not over-striving or lamenting what we have not accomplished or become, not constantly feeling that we should have a better life. The notion of settling into, not settling for, the life we have and living it as gratifyingly and graciously as possible. 

As someone who works in the therapy field where my stock in trade has been self understanding, moving forward, creating your life, these ideas, quite frankly, left me a bit rattled, as well as a bit intrigued. It does seem a bit heretical to me – life is, after all and especially in our society, all about not being a victim, not being passive. That we are always creating a life out of the choices we make or don’t make, that we are the one who steers the ship that is our lives. But accepting what we have and working within it, rather than always focused on the distant horizon of could-be, should-be that we will never reach is also comforting – a living in the moment, an appreciation of what we have instead of what we don’t.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

And there’s the rub, how to reconcile both these views, the tension of accepting life yet being capable of changing it. So here is the outcome of my reflection, some compromise between the two, not lamenting what we don't have, yet tweaking what we do: 10 questions in no particular order to hopefully stimulate your own creation of a good-enough life: 

1. What do appreciate most in your life right now? 

2. In taking the various forks in your life, what have you left behind that you need to go back and regain? 

3. Is there something that you most need to settle into and accept more?

4. What is it that you would regret most if you didn't do it? 

5. What have you always needed that you feel you have never received? 

6. What is the one thing that you could start doing that would make the biggest impact on your life? 

7. What is the one thing that you could stop doing that would make the biggest impact on your life? 

8. What do you want other people to understand about you most? 

9. What do you want to discover? 

10. What do you need to make your life good-enough? 

This is as far as I have gotten and enough questions for now for me to dwell on.

Feel free to add your own.


Bob Taibbi, L.C.S.W. has 40 years of clinical experience. He is author of 6 books and over 300 articles and provides training nationally and internationally.


Subscribe to Fixing Families

Current Issue

Dreams of Glory

Daydreaming: How the best ideas emerge from the ether.