When do you know you’ve mastered something? When you can do it without thinking? If I want to learn Italian, mastery might be jumping into a conversation with my nephews without them looking at me like I’m crazy. If I want to be a good swimmer, mastery may be out of reach, but I’d settle for making it two laps without stopping.
There are also things we master by accident. We didn’t set out to be excellent, it just came with multiple trials, and many repetitions. In the mini-Olympics of everyday life, there are some things that would earn me a little plastic trophy, or at least a participation ribbon.
Having forgotten the list, get through the store in under an hour with everything you’ll need for the week.
Navigate an efficient path to the train, dodging puddles, dog doo, and people who are walking too slowly so that you get up the stairs just as the train pulls in.
Have all parts of the meal on the plate at the same time, still warm. Bonus points for not cutting your thumb and remembering garnishes.
After completing the washer and dryer stages of the obstacle course, have all socks paired up with none mysteriously lost.
Print tax returns on home computer without ink blotches or paper jams. Expert round: change the toner without getting it all over your hands and/or the carpet.
Take a minimal wardrobe and make it appear to be 14 unique outfits. Not applicable for weekends.
Keep houseplants alive; bonus points for pets.
Read at least one newspaper and one magazine a day to stay well-informed, develop opinions, and chat with co-workers. Entertainment Weekly is OK; subtract points for relying on social media posts.
Use tissues, gum, and receipts in your wallet to make puppet for a child; accompany with wild facial expressions, compelling story and/or song. Subtract points if baby cries.
Fit everything you need for a week into one bag. Look at it again and cram in three more outfits. Don’t even think about packing a carry-on bag of equal size.
I’m sure you can just see me, breaking the tape, basking in the applause, singing the national anthem. Woo hoo!