When OK is The Best We Can Expect

by Jennifer Miller on October 5, 2009

in Personal Effectiveness

The other day I was exchanging emails with my friend Kathleen who has extremely diverse interests.  She’s an accounting software trainer/working artist / gallery owner.  (How’s THAT for variety?!) It had been awhile since we’d talked and I inquired—“how are you?”  Kathleen emailed back, “I’m fine…well, OK.  But ‘OK’ is the new ‘Fine’, right?”  After determining that her “OK” didn’t include poor health or the death of a loved one, I had a chuckle and we moved on to other topics.

Her comment was meant to be humorous—Kathleen’s a very funny person.  And it made me laugh right out loud. The comment achieved its purpose: to inject humor into a conversation.

Still, the comment lingers.  For me, this off-handed remark speaks to the shifting of expectations.   Kathleen explained to me that her “OK” stemmed from the fatigue of weathering the continuing poor economic climate here in Michigan.  Indeed, we Michiganders are now satisfied with “OK” when in better times “Fine” would be far more desirable.

Lately, I find myself drawn to the topic of expectations and satisfaction. I’d be curious to hear from you— how have your expectations been shaped or redefined by your life’s circumstances these past 12 months?

Note: Whenever possible, I like to give a shout-out to colleagues who do quality work.  If you need Peachtree Software training or are an art afficiando, you may tap into any of Kathleen’s expertise areas:

Business Solutions Training Group, Inc.
Peachtree Accounting Specialists since 1991 The BEST Custom and Standard Business Forms!

Kathleen Mooney, ISEA
Artist and Instructor

Fire and Water Art
Studio and Showroom

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Jo Asmus October 5, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Hi Jennifer – are you coming up on 30 days, yet?

I think a response to the question “how are you” may be based on context. Our lives are complex, and if we focus on whats depressing, or upsetting, this is where our minds go and how we respond.

Interestingly, as the asker, if we want to change the conversation by changing the question, we might ask a question that is more specific – such as “how is the gourmet cooking hobby going?” or ” how’s your love life?” – we may well get a different answer.

Its a point to ponder. I’ve found that some of the most negative people can be turned around with the right question.

Jennifer October 5, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Mary Jo,

The 30 Day Blogging Challenge ends 10/8 (3 days!) I need to count to be sure, but I think I will achieve the 30 posts in 30 days. Thanks for asking. It’s good to have a very concrete stretch goal with a short time horizon.

Thomas Waterhouse October 6, 2009 at 3:12 am

Hi Jennifer! This is a thought-provoking question. I think my expectations have taken on more humility and they have grown in charity. Certain goals “seemed to be” totally blocked; yet I’m beginning to see the true and more fulfilling directions meant for me. I grieve for those more severely impacted by recent events and so “the new fine” is having its graceful way with me. I think your question will challenge me for days to come, and that’s a good thing! Thank you.

Jennifer October 6, 2009 at 3:29 am


What a lovely turn of phrase- your expectations have “grown in charity”. Need to turn that over in my mind a few times. . .

Bridget Haymond October 6, 2009 at 4:33 am

Having gone through a major health challenge that landed me in the hospital for a brain biopsy and financial challenges that had me contemplating bankruptcy, I now am a firm believer in choosing my attitude.

When I’m able to let go of my expectations of other people or circumstances and embrace my own freedom to choose how I will process and respond in each circumstance, I can be better than okay even if the situation stinks.

It’s not about denying the reality of our circumstances as that will only have a temporary effect. It’s about being proactive and working our way through them which feels so much better because we are no longer the caboose on the train.

We may not be living the same lifestyle we once were, but if we and our loved ones are healthy, and we have food, clothing, and shelter we have far more than the majority of people on the planet and have much to be thankful for.

Thanks for a great thought provoking question!

Jennifer October 6, 2009 at 6:08 am


Wow, what a very powerful and personal story about making the choosing the way you live. Thanks for stopping by to share it.

John October 21, 2009 at 10:36 am

Hi Jennifer…

Your post is a sign of the times. There are a lot of hurting people out there – or at least people who are doing “OK.” My most read posting is How To Overcome Defeat. I really liked some of the other responses to your post and am a firm believer that we can choose our attitude, regardless of the situation… I just need to be reminded sometimes. 🙂
Congrats on the 30 days!!

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