I wonder what it would be like if I were better.
A better designer, a better partner, a better brother, a better manager, a better cook, a better baker, a better photographer, a better son, a better writer, a better traveler, a better runner, a better friend.
It’s not that I feel objectively bad at any of those things, but I frame the situations and relationships I find myself in and wonder what someone better might do.
It’s not a question of quality, necessarily (look, I’m not trying to be the BEST photographer!), but usually a matter of taking some action instead of no action. How many times have I walked past a moment, thought about taking a photo, and kept walking, only to wonder about having that moment for myself. If I were better, I think, I would’ve taken that photo.
If I were better…
Maybe a better designer would aim for consistency over the company’s projects, instead of shooting for the stars on each individual flier.
Maybe a better partner would let her know what she means to him in each language they share.
Maybe a better brother would have brought home some Rwandan coffee.
Maybe a better manager would articulate how his team needs to be managed, and provide that for them each day.
Maybe a better cook wouldn’t order in when there are still vegetables to be roasted, eggs to be scrambled, and fresh tomatoes to be reduced.
Maybe a better baker would work on the same recipe to fine tune it, rather than flitter from pie to muffin to scone without improving any of them.
Maybe a better photographer would just stop and take the photo.
Maybe a better son would Facetime more often when he’s on another continent.
Maybe a better writer would appreciate the community that gives him so much leeway.
Maybe a better traveler would say, “Why not?” and jump on the moto-taxi.
Maybe a better runner would understand it’s okay not to run if it hurts.
Maybe a better friend would ask him to drinks, despite the years, regardless of the outcome.
Slowly, as I keep going, as I keep asking myself what it might be like if I were better, things get better. It’s hard to notice the changes of a life infinitesimally, incrementally, marginally better, day to day, or even week to week. But the infinitesimal, incremental, marginal improvements are there, and they add up. Just keep going.