Embracing Average

I’ve really cornered the market on average. I’m married, with a three bedroom, two bath house, two kids and one dog. I work in education, my husband works in IT, and we make a decent living for our family. It’s basically dead center of your average life. I’m moderate in most of my beliefs as well — politically and religiously. It’s possible to look at my life situation as boring.

There’s not too much that’s extraordinary about who I am. I thought long and hard about it and came up with three things:

1.     Being loud

2.     Creating awkward situations

3.     Biting sarcasm

Don’t think I’m looking for sympathy with this — I know I’m good at a certain number of things, but I don’t feel like any of those things will change the world. I’ve struggled for such a long time feeling like I’m doing fine, but not great. I find myself plodding through life, doing the same types of things, day in and day out.

Sometimes I look at my life with indifference because I see other people I know doing such remarkable things and I don’t feel like I measure up. I have a close friend who is a pediatric physical therapist for cancer patients. I have a friend who is a talented choir director, working two jobs and taking guest conductor gigs across the country. I see people my age and younger doing amazing things, and it’s hard not to look at these in amazement and a bit of confusion.

I can’t compete with them – not for one second. 

We live in a world driven by success. We see it all around us — in person, on TV, in social media. We see greatness and grand gestures, those things get retweeted and shared, giving us constant reminders of the simple, maybe boring, average lives we lead.

We may strive for more because of a need for belonging, a desire for notoriety or maybe because we truly want to make the world a better place. We may feel small because we do not measure up. We may push ourselves to create greatness that is not ours. Or maybe not ours right now.

I’m just beginning to learn that average has value too.

Average people make the world go ‘round.  They schedule your appointments, they greet you at the store, and they take care of your children. They change your oil, fix your computers, and hold open doors when your hands are full.

I’m learning that greatness and average are relative. Some of the greatest people I know would probably consider themselves average. How’s that for ironic? Greatness comes in big and small ways, and some of the greatest acts of kindness, love, and support I’ve ever experienced could probably be considered small, insignificant, and minor to those who administered them.

Average creates stability in life, a rhythm.

In musical terms, the rhythm is the steady beat. It’s the flow with which every exciting and exhilarating event takes place. All excitement and no rhythm is uncomfortable to listen to and hard to follow. It needs resolution; it needs normalcy to feel right.

Therefore, the normalcy, the mundane, the average creates extraordinary value.

Chasing greatness and fame and a name for yourself isn’t a bad thing by nature, but the value of average shouldn’t be overlooked either. We should all want to be the best we can be, but sometimes the best me is average by the world’s standards. I can either feel badly about it or embrace it.

What I am trying to embrace is the reality of who I am (because feeling badly about it does me no good at all). I’m trying not to question if I am pretty enough or smart enough. I’ve wasted time wondering if I am a good enough parent or a helpful enough friend or sister or daughter or wife. What I have in my corner is this average, simple, beautiful life I live. I have rhythm. It is dependable and steady, and it provides an anchor for my family.

Here’s to those of us who look and feel average. May we be content with the rhythm of life we’ve made for ourselves. Maybe it is our season to recognize and champion greatness in others. Maybe it is our season to teach and raise greatness in our children and those around us. Maybe we need to be ready and open when the opportunity for personal greatness arises. And maybe we just need to close our eyes and feel the steady rhythm our average lives bring to this world.

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