"[W]e are living right now through the Age of Awesome. I spend small pockets of time trying to get the children in my life to stop exaggerating or, at least, to check the scale of their language. Everything is ‘awesome,’ ‘mega,’ massive,’ and ‘total,’ and some of us, down here chewing a blade of grass and feeling tiny under the sun, might make a case for the notion that it is fine for things to be, well, O.K. Not just in travel, but in terms of food, fashion, music, business ideas and design, the lovely, enabling idea that things can just be ‘fine,’ is under threat. Nothing’s allowed to be fine because, to the hyped-up mind, ‘fine’ sounds quite a lot like ‘mediocre.’
Not everything has to be great. Maybe it’s a thrill to watch things become great. Maybe it’s healthy to feel that a meal is reasonable, that a performance had its moments, that a trip was fun in parts, that a person is engaging and you look forward to finding out what they’re really like, that last night’s sex was nice. In my slow but persistent bid for the reader’s sanity, I hereby prescribe a period of allowing things to be adequate. That little taverna in Crete with the hanging bulbs? Sufficient. That shopping mall designed by Zaha Hadid? Decent. That show of Koloman Moser at the Neue Galerie? Likable.
This isn’t faint praise; it just ain’t hysteria. And the worlds of art, style and travel suffer from an overassignment of superlatives and love-love-love. How about having a shaded, tempered view of what you’re actually experiencing? Some things you like without realizing you like them, or it takes a while, or you can’t find the words, or you feel two things at once.
Personal satisfaction is a curious modern religion. It’s always been an instinct, of course, but it’s never been a religion before with such uniform psalms of praise. Good luck to those people who want the moon (literally), or who can’t stand for a second that something they’re enjoying isn’t utterly awesome and death-defyingly fabulous. Hurrah for those who wish to traverse the Gobi Desert on one foot. They will have the edge over the rest of us, who merely want a better cocktail and no traffic.”
The Virtues of Fine in the Age of Awesome | NYT