This past week, a New York Times article blew up on the Internet courtesy of its title, in which the author referred to Adele not by her name, but by calling her a “27-year-old mother who barely uses social media.”
The backlash was immediate. “Would someone write about Justin Timberlake as a 34-year-old dad who barely uses social media?” someone I follow wrote. Others pointed the finger at the NYT and asked, “What do you have against mothers?” while others still defended the artist unnecessarily by saying “when you have talent, you don’t need social media.”
Outside of all the responses immediately received from the gender-equality diehards, the article actually had a good point — as one would expect of an article from the New York Times. The point was not to bash Adele’s mothering efforts or her interests in millennial marketing, but to celebrate her for being able to be all of that and still able to sell more records than that “34-year-old dad,” Justin Timberlake — or anyone, for that matter.
Of course, this prompted more backlash — “it’s cheating to not stream her albums,” one Twitter-er commented, while others started to flip the tables saying she doesn’t deserve the success because she isn’t trying hard enough.
It became very clear, very quickly, that while people were quick to praise Adele’s talents as being absolutely worthy of the success she has had, the consensus of the online troll population was that her efforts in “making it” were not outstanding. In fact, talent aside, her efforts may have been only just good enough.
It was indicated in the thread of two hundred some odd comments I got late-night-suckered into reading that Adele doesn’t seem like she is overly trying to please us. It doesn’t appear she’s trying to build a Beyonce-like empire. She doesn’t seem to be trying to portray herself as the mother we all want to be one day. Nor is she trying to break the Internet. She is, simply, doing good enough in all areas of her life, and excelling at her music.
And, in a day-and-age where people are crediting every ounce of their success to social media, it’s pissing people off.
I continued to read this thread of comments on Saturday morning as I travelled from my chaotic apartment of moving boxes to a chaotic event that I was helping out at despite the fact I was in the middle of moving day.
When I arrived at the event I turned Adele off repeat and vowed to leave Twitter alone for the rest of the day because I, too, was getting pissed off.
I greeted those I knew at the event and found my spot. My co-worker started a conversation with me by asking how the move was going and how my preparations for my Sunday youth group were coming.
“Meh,” I responded. “Not great, but good enough.”
“Ah,” she said, “so absolutely perfectly.”
There are areas of our lives to which we need to dedicate great efforts in order to be pleased with ourselves. These areas are usually our talents, our passions, our relationships and our well-beings. There are other areas, however, where giving more than necessary is really just a waste of our precious time.
People get frustrated when “good enough” gets enviable results. There are plenty of incredible singers out there who spend copious amounts of effort on their social media and never become the next Adele. But maybe that’s the reason.
How can we ever fully give ourselves to the things that matter most if we’re going big at everything?
As I was so gently reminded this weekend, sometimes good enough isn’t just good enough — it’s perfect.
— Andria Parker is an Instagram-obsessed idealist with at least 600 words to share on every topic, ever.