How many times have you said to yourself, “Oh that’ll do!” about something. It might have been about your dinner after looking into a bare fridge and opting for toast. It might have been what you told yourself after getting ready to leave the house this morning and throwing on an un ironed top. It might have been about how well you mowed the lawn or cleaned the bathroom or something bigger like the job you applied for. I feel like it’s an expression I’ve used a lot without a second thought.
I first heard “That’ll do won’t do” from an ex. It was his secondary school’s motto. At first I thought it was a bit obnoxious, a bit superior and a bit unrealistic. Why should everything be perfect, why can’t things “just do”? However, I’ve had some time lately, (actually, a lot of time), to think about what it really means. I’ve been on a journey, physically and mentally walking round England promoting a concept called The Big Lunch. It meant that I walked 10 miles a day, mainly through lovely countryside, allowing me some much-needed time to ponder life.
That’ll do won’t do kept popping to mind and the question I have been asking myself is if I’m making do with any part of my life so I’ve been going through each bit:
In terms of career, I was brave (or stupid) enough to quit my 9 to 5 and embark on a portfolio career which consists of writing, training, charity work and community projects. I’m much happier. It’s been really hard financially and mentally but ultimately worth it. I knew my 9 to 5 job wasn’t enough so I didn’t make do, I created something different knowing there would be hard times initially. I feel like work is something people make do with. We’re conditioned to feel we have no other choice but to make do because of finances and commitments. But what I’ve found is you cut your cloth and if you really want to, you can make difficult decisions that can change your life.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love where I live, both in terms of the roof over my head and the town that I live in. Both are small, gritty and a bit rough round the edges but I guess an accurate reflection of me which is why I feel so at home! I’ve moved a fair bit over the years, I’ve experienced different environments and I know that where you live has a huge impact on your happiness. I lived in London and hated it. I didn’t drag it out and make do, I left after 6 months and I’ve never looked back.
I am happy with my direction in life. I see who I am and where my skills lie. I know I want to change the world around me for the better and help others in any way I can. I do that every day through my work with Age UK Northamptonshire, Linking Lives and writing. I saw that being active in the community made me happy and trying to spread positivity (with a realistic lens) helped me so that’s what I do. I’m unwavering and unapologetic about who I am and where I’m going. I won’t settle for the easy option because it’s safe. It just won’t do.
I have recently gone through a break up. Another one. Without going into the intricacies, it made me realise that I went into the relationship with entirely the wrong attitude. And so did she. It was definitely a “that’ll do” from both of us. We saw it as temporary and of course, that’s what we made it.
I don’t want to be anyone’s “that’ll do” anymore. I’ve let it happen a lot. I made a list of what I want from someone while I was on the road and the top of the list was: Someone who just HAS to be with me without a second thought or a “we’ll see”. I’m an independent person but I do want lasting love and I’m not willing to settle for mediocre. Where that love will come from, or if I’ll ever find it, remains to be seen.
Toast VS Love
Should I beat myself up about having toast for dinner or not cleaning the shower that well? No. Life isn’t perfect and we don’t need to hold every tiny thing up to such heavy scrutiny. But the bigger things, like career and life goals and most importantly, love we absolutely should. Why settle? If you’re miserable where you live, move. If you hate your job, get a new one. If you don’t really love the person you’re with, let them find someone who does.
That’ll do definitely won’t do.