Word of the Week: OK

Main Entry: 1OK
Variant(s): or okay \ō-ˈkā, in assenting or agreeing also ˈō-ˌkā\
Function: adverb or adjective
Etymology: abbreviation of oll korrect, facetious alteration of all correct
Date: 1839    (www.m-w.com)

You’re saying, “That’s all she’s got?” Yep, that’s all I got. But sometimes you don’t need much. I was reminded of this word recently while doing some work for someone. They specified a preference for the “OK” spelling over the “okay” variant. OK, whatever!

Later, I remembered that I was thinking about this as a “Word of the Week” some time ago. It’s a little word, to be sure, but a powerful one for me in two respects. One, “okay” is often used as the equivalent as “fine” or “good enough.” I know, we strive for excellence . . . but sometimes, at least for a recovering perfectionist like me, it’s good to be able to look at something and say “it’s okay.” Whereas I can pick apart and cut down my best efforts, it’s helpful sometimes to be satisfied with just good enough.
And then sometimes this little word just acts as a calming agent when my thoughts start to assault me.
  • When I’m running around at 5:00, scrambling to get something together for dinner because I got sidetracked, I’m learning to say “it’s okay” to myself. (That’s why you bought those frozen pizzas, remember?)
  • Oh no – I forgot the laundry I started on Sunday and it’s now Tuesday. (It’s okay. When’s the last time my husband didn’t have clean clothes to wear to work?)
  • Darn, I forgot to go to the bank while I was out today. That means another trip out. (It’s okay. There will be more errands anyways).
  • Ugh, I kind of let my day get over-scheduled and now I’m feeling stressed. (It’s okay. So look at your calendar; can you work in some breathing room in the near future?)
  • I didn’t accomplish much today. (It’s okay. In hindsight, you didn’t sleep much the past few nights and probably really needed that nap).
  • Um, I’m not nearly where I’d hoped to be business-wise by this time. (It’s okay. And look at all you’ve learned along the way).
I will say, at times I find myself using this word to convey a feeling of ambivalence. I’m really trying to curb that. But aside from that meaning, I find this little word is kind of like a pressure relief valve for me.
See, I told you. Sometimes you don’t need much. All you need is one good little word.

3 thoughts on “Word of the Week: OK

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. Sometimes I just have to say,”Breathe, it’s okay!”

  2. I like your thinking. I go through similar mental dialogues when I need to let myself off the hook (so to speak).

    Just today, while driving home from work, I was thinking, “I should get some easy meals when I don’t feel like cooking so we don’t eat out as much .”

    You have given me the language to use. From now on, I’m going to say to myself, “it’s ok!”

  3. This is excellent! (more than Okay…)

    There is a lot to be said for getting by with “good enough” sometimes, for certain things, as a trade off to excellence. I am a huge proponent of this (for certain activities/situations), as well as delegation, which also helps.

    At the end, the “okay” can lead to overall better results.

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