Ok, so I stole this sentiment from a former student of mine (yes, in a past life, I was all set to begin a career in teaching. A little ironic turn of events now that I’m a homeschooler). In a short encounter I had with him, he told me, probably mostly in jest, that he had already accepted that he was going to live a mediocre life. I used to think it was such a depressing sentiment. I couldn’t believe that this young person uttered these words as a mere teenager, not even yet 18, I don’t think. I mean, in this country, aren’t our youngsters supposed to have an incredibly inflated sense of confidence? What was with this kid? How had he missed the boat so profoundly? He wasn’t supposed to have this outlook until at least age 35….ahem.
It’s funny how some things stay with you. I mean 96 percent of everything that happens to us is like water through a sieve, isn’t it? I mean, not exactly. We’re always being changed by our experiences and learning new things each day but it’s funny how such a small amount of our experience actually stays with us vividly. And it’s always like the most random shit, too, isn’t it? This was about 10 years ago and I can still remember his precise wording as he spoke to me. Strange.
Ten years this phrase has been clanking around in the ole noggin. Bangin’ into stuff and coming to my conscious mind at the most odd times. Like today while I was doing the dishes. I was singing away as usual chipping away at a crusty plate with Miles sleeping on the rocking chair in the living room, Ruth and Joel still yet to get up and I was thinking about my day and my plans. Make breakfast. Hang up the laundry. Make the beds. Water the herb garden. Sweep the floors. Do a circle time with the kids (if they don’t mutiny…about a 50/50 chance). Take the kids to the park later. I mean, you get the picture right? What word is popping into your head right now? The same one that popped into mine I bet as I was thinking these thoughts and going about my life: mediocrity. I am living a life of mediocrity.
You might upon hearing this, like I did 10 years ago, feel pity towards me for having such a downtrodden outlook on my existence but the truth is, in another ironic turn of events, this simple phrase spoken to me by a random 16 year old boy on a random Wednesday afternoon in a random classroom in Metro Detroit has become a sort of mantra that I carry around with me. I now see it as the quintessential anti-consumerist, anti-competitive, austere, back-to-basics, simplistic sentiment that I seek to infuse every part of my life with. It’s with pride that I tell myself I am living a life of mediocrity (my sort of inside joke with myself). I am living, or trying with all my might to live, a life of simplicity and real, authentic values (the values that come inherent with being human, not values sold to me by a television commercial, and yes, there is a difference).
Ok, I’m doing it again. This is what my spouse warned me about. I’m sounding too self righteous. People don’t like that. More likely, people feel threatened if you contradict something that they have taken for granted (such as it’s a good thing to consume a lot of stuff and things and buy more and more ’cause it’s fun, duh?) and seem overly confident about it. Ok, that sentence was also self-righteous, I’ll give you that. What can I do, though? I’m a know-it-all. It’s in my nature to think I’m always right. Just joking. I don’t always think I’m right…though I’m having a hard time coming up with an example of a time that I was clearly in the wrong…just kidding again! I’m often wrong. Just ask my kids and spouse and mom and brothers and in-laws and friends and acquaintances and Kroger check out people…you get the picture. Ok, I think I’m done now. Enjoy this post and go out and live a humble life of mediocrity! And enjoy every second!