In my youth people, strangers mostly, told me I looked like pretty, famous women: Sally Field, Cheryl Tiegs, and more recently, Joanne Woodward. I don’t, of course. I am pretty much average, don’t stand out in a crowd, the most un-famous, common person I know. Seriously, if someone wrote a book about average women, I’d be smack in the middle.
I wish they had some kind of “Oscar” for being a mom, good pet owner, or flower-planter. People have never come up to me in restaurants and said, “You deserve an award for the way you comfort your babies when they cry.” I never got any recognition for walking the dog every day and tying her toys on the end of a rope that I fastened to my waist so she could chase them while I was doing housework, making it a playtime for her. I got no trophies for the pretty flowers I plant in the spring. Actually, I do get an award of sorts each Mother’s Day when my kids give me cards that say, essentially, I’m the best mother in the whole wide world. They buy the sweetest cards.
I’m just an average person, and it’s a fine thing to be. When it comes down to it, almost all of us are average. Only a few people rise to the top, and I no longer feel inferior to them – they deserve to be there mainly because they worked really hard and had a lot of business savvy and other talents. They are single-minded in the pursuit of their dreams, where I have a mind like an octopus – lots of parts moving in all directions.
I read Kevin Hart’s book, I Can’t Make This Up, about how hard he worked to become a successful standup comedian. The great people of the world appear to be focused on achieving one goal above all others. But they also have to let something else go – there just isn’t enough time to do it all. I don’t know this for a fact, but when I read books about famous people, it looks to me like they just pursue, pursue, pursue, and they never get much sleep, they’re away from home and family a lot, they drink or do drugs to try to wind down. Being average is the curse of ambition, but being happy is a pretty sweet compromise.
My goal is to be single-mindedly average to the best of my ability. Someone else will always be better at just about everything. There are only a few spots at the top. I’m okay with just being good, I don’t need to be great.
If that’s what you want, and are willing to give up everything else for that top position, I say go for it. But if you don’t get there, either because you aren’t persistent, don’t work hard enough, don’t have the confidence, give up after criticism, don’t believe in yourself, or just change your mind – then you’re like most of us. We all have dreams of being the best, but the price of some dreams can be way too much.
I dreamed of being a singer, and I pursued by majoring in music for a couple of years in college, and I enjoyed it. But I was such an insecure little thing. Thank goodness I didn’t become the star I envisioned in my daydreams, because I would have worked too hard, probably gotten into drugs when the criticisms came in or my popularity started to fade and who knows what else. Rather than regretting that I didn’t pursue that dream, I thank the good Lord I did not even start down that path when I was so young and vulnerable.
I’m average. I can take pretty good photos, write a story, sing a little, do some graphic design, play a decent game of golf, keep up with most people skiing, know a lot about raising kids and flowers, hiking, traveling, tutoring, volunteering. I’m happy I’m average at a lot of things. A jack of all trades and a master of none.
Ahh, it feels pretty darned good to say it!