Nancy Roman

Exceptionally OK

Last night I was vegging out with my favorite mindless pastime – reading makeup reviews on Sephora – when the following lipstick review intrigued me.


That was it. No explanation. Just three stars and the words “exceptionally ok”.

And as I considered this short phrase, I started to like it. I started to love it.

Now I have often extolled the virtues of staying true to what you love (Five Things You Deserve Now).  I strongly believe you should be passionate about even simple things. I know I feel wonderful wearing something I love or using my great-aunt’s china. Or reading a great book. Or even finding the perfect shade of lipstick.

But I realize that there are many things that are just fine without needing to be fantastic. Exceptionally OK is more than good enough.

Everyone’s lists are different… things that need to be excellent and things that might be fine if they are just ok.

Here’s a few of my exceptionally ok stuff:

Movies.  Oh, I used to be a film snob. (…and you can usually spot one because they say ‘film’ and not ‘movie’….) But now I’ve come to enjoy lots of not-so-great movies. I can watch a classic gem like “The African Queen” one day, and happily laugh at “Ted” the next day. Entertain me. Many days, a few hours of entertainment is exceptionally ok for me.

Houses. My house is gorgeous, and I love it. I’m enormously fortunate that my husband is such a great homebuilder and that we have such a lovely home. But I am also aware that although I love my home, I would also be happy with a simpler place. I have lived more modestly. I was fine with it. Because loving your house has more to do with how you take care of it and what you do in it than with how many amenities you have. I was happy in my first one-room apartment. And if I moved back tomorrow, I know it would be exceptionally ok again.

Cars. I appreciate great automobiles. But I also like one that starts when you turn the key and gets you where you need to go.

Music on the Radio. There are some folks I know who can’t hit the button fast enough when a song comes on that they hate. But for me, most of the time, any music is fine. I know three and a half minutes later, I get another chance to hear a better song. How exceptionally ok is that?

Tea. I’m fussy about my coffee. A fabulous cup of coffee will brighten my whole day. And a lousy cup of coffee gets on my nerves. But tea? I guess I am not a connoisseur of tea. It pretty much all tastes the same to me. My favorite cup of tea is whatever my mother makes. Because she made it. She is my favorite boiler of water.

Restaurants. My food has to be completely inedible for me to complain in a restaurant. First, because someone else cooked it for me. Second – and even more important – someone else is going to wash the dishes. And third – and most important of all – if I am out to eat, nearly all of the time, I am not there for the food.  I am there for the company. My friends and family. Delicious food is a bonus. But a hot dog is exceptionally ok. Just as long as it lets me be with the people I love.

Gifts. Anything you buy me is good. Don’t fret about it. And by the way, I no longer fret about what I give you either. I’m happy when it pleases you. But I know it’s just a little insignificant representation of our significant affection for each other. What it is doesn’t matter. It’s exceptionally ok.

Kid’s Art. Any story or drawing or musical offering by anyone under twelve is absolutely exceptionally ok. Do I appreciate talented kids? Sure. Do I like average kids too? You bet I do. Especially if they are related to me. But even if they are not. (But if they are, the age limit goes away. You can be in your sixties or seven years old – I will like your song, your painting, and your dance steps. Guaranteed.)

What’s on your list?


A violin duet from my sister and her grandson. More than exceptionally ok. Superbly ok.






  1. “Exceptionally ok”. I’m really beginning to like that phrase also!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am going to use it all the time!


  2. When I hear live music, I’m pretty happy no matter what’s playing.


    • Yes! And street musicians!


  3. This reminds me of the time a woman told me, with heartfelt sincerity, that I am “so moderately pretty.” The context was that I should feel comfortable at parties, because I am pretty but not pretty enough to garner uncomfortable attention. That compliment made me laugh for days. She was calling me exceptionally ok! Ha!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh dear. I’m not sure whether I would have laughed or cried – but I can see the advantage of it!


  4. I like it! This post is exceptionally OK for me!


    • Well, thank you. I was in an exceptionally ok mood when I wrote it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gobblefunkist

    “Exceptionally ok”. I love it. It describes my life in its entirety.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure you have many moments that were better than exceptionally ok – but if the majority of our lives is exceptionally ok – I think that might be pretty good!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am going to try and remember that phrase because, as your list so succinctly illustrates, exceptional is the lens you bring to the experience. My exceptional ok addition would be any book read while sitting on the beach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that is a good one!


  7. Ellen

    Exceptionally OK!! Love it!! I will use this exceptionally OK phrase each and every time an opportunity presents itself. Marvelous post, beyond exceptionally OK. Thank-you!


    • Thanks. I’m exceptionally ok that you like the idea.


  8. This post immediately made me think of my apartment, which is not my ideal place to live. It is OK. But it is also unusually large, with tons of storage, in a great location, and the rent is low for this area. If something goes wrong, someone comes to fix it right away. It really is Exceptionally OK, and I’m going to remember that! Thank you!


    • That reminds me of a co-worker years ago who was buying his first house. He was quite a bit younger than I, and I heard him telling some friends that the house was just a “starter home”. When I had a chance to speak to him privately, I said that there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a starter home, but that he should consider whether he would be happy enough if he lived in that house all his life. The economy could take a downturn or he could experience a setback in his career. “Just make sure you like it ENOUGH,” I said. I see now that I was saying that his home should at least be exceptionally ok.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. jono51

    It’s a good one!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I do like the sound of “Exceptionally ok”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gratitude that I have “enough.” Not fancy or rich, but enough. I think that fits the definition.


    • Aha! That’s it exactly.


  12. if I were a writer thinker I would have written this. But I am not and you are and this is an exceptionally awesome thought provoking article. Especially because of the things you covered on the list. Movies, music, restaurants and gifts are really fine if they are exceptionally ok. No harm is done and everyone goes home exceptionally satisfied. !! I hope more people read this and change their mind on being fussy about anything and everything.


    • Fussy is a good word. I know a few people who are just fussy about everything. I wish they wouldn’t worry so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. reminds me of a back handed slap to the face!


  14. kaos8387

    New favorite phrase; I see it as a way to focus even more on being authentic and living in gratitude.


  15. “She is my favorite boiler of water.” That was pretty funny!

    (Well, I wrote a whole comment and then mistakenly pressed “something” on my keyboard, and the comment vanished -.-)

    Anyway, as I was saying, in regards to the whole rating idea –
    I do not like giving stars for “regular” products. Lipstick is supposed to add color to your lips. Does it do its job? Yes? Cool! That makes it “OK”/ 3 stars. In order for me to give it 5 stars/ “excellent”, it would also have to be able to fly. This is why I do not like the whole “rating” culture, and rarely do so.


    • Hahaha. I’m not saying I BELIEVE reviews. Just that I love them!


  16. The Serendipity Journals

    I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree with you: food is almost always at the forefront of my mind (sorry).
    Love the post!


    • Oh I think about food a lot… but it doesn’t have to be anything gourmet when I am with people I love.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Serendipity Journals

        There’s nothing like my Granny’s cooking! Rather that any day!


  17. Gift advice? Epic.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Our duly elected President.


    • If only we had one.


      • In what way was he not duly elected? What proper procedure wasn’t followed?


        • I trust that Mueller will soon tell us.


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