*I know many of you have read this already when it was posted over at Studio30Plus.com. I'd like to keep all my writing in one place, so I've re-posted here.
I will have a new post later this week!*
Let me begin by saying that I am not writing this in search of compliments or reassurances. This is not a post bathed in humorous self-deprecation to elicit encouragement to fight low self esteem. Trust me, I love the love; but I'm hoping this post will prove that I'm feeling pretty good on my own. Wanna know why...
Because I am MEDIOCRE! That's right, you read correctly. I am "average and ordinary in quality" according to my friends at dictionary.com. Some would interpret this as an insult. "Average!?" What an outrage! "Ordinary in quality!?" I demand a recount! But wait a minute... When did "average" and "ordinary" become bad things to be? What exactly is wrong with being "average" or "ordinary"? Lord knows no one wants to be below averageor sub-ordinary. As parents we invest hours of lecturing, consequences and money to avoid being both those things. But if we are trying to avoid being below average and we end up average, wouldn't we be considered successful?
I'm no math or science genius. History major with a minor in Education over here. But I have a cloudy memory of studying standard deviation in my "Math for Educators" class- somewhere between cutting out triangles and teaching kids to add 3-digit numbers. Simply put, the standard deviation (thank you Google for your simple-minded explanation) is represented by a bell type curve wherein results of a particular test or problem are shown. The most common score is signified at the pinnacle, or top, of the curve, with the lower and higher scores descending the left and right sides. Typically the left side represents the least desirable place to be- the lowest scores- while the right is the most desirable place to be- the highest scores. If I interpreted the information incorrectly, just work with me here. I was unable to locate "Standard Deviation for Dummies" in time to write this post.
So reading from left to right one would find lowest scores ascending to most common score, descending to highest/least common score. If I'm reading it right, it seems the majority often falls in the middle. Not to the left. Not to the right. Could someone then explain to me why we are always so focused on the two extremes- the lowest and highest scores? What exactly is wrong with being "average" or "common"- in the middle?
"Average" can be quite delightful. Let me show you:
1. I am a terrible runner. I am in great shape but I suck at running. Whey someone says, "I'm going to do a quick 4-5 miles on Saturday" it's like they are speaking a foreign language. 3.1 is as far as I go. And I'm pretty sure you can find at least one of my lungs around mile 2.3.
2. I am an awesome organizer. I can organize the crap out of anything. I'm the Master Room Mom, a fabulous party planner and the best carpool assinger on the planet!
3. I am a good mom. I have my good days and my bad days. Looking at the "big picture" I'd say we come out just short of the "high score" but in a good place on the curve and the emotional scars should be minimal, or at a minimum, within the range of "normal."
4. I have no short term memory. I'm a mom approaching 40. No explanation necessary.
5. I rock as a hostess. If you come to my house for a party or just to hang out, you can pretty much guarantee your drink or food of choice will be available and I will not ask you or your child to clean up anything when you leave.
6. I totally suck at anything music related. I can't sing. I can't play an instrument. I can't read music. I spend every Thursday at my 6 year old's piano lesson nodding my head as the 20 year old teacher explains timing and rhythm and half notes and quarter notes but I really have no clue what he's talking about. Meanwhile the 6 year old watches dust particles dance in the sunlight, seemingly paying no attention whatsoever, yet learns every new song in 13 minutes.
7. I am a great friend. You need someone to watch your kids so you can go to the doctor? I'll have my schedule rearranged and arrive on your doorstep in 30 minutes or less. Having a tough day? Here's your favorite Starbucks drink and a card with words of encouragement. Hormonal? I've got chocolate, wine and pretzels in my purse- take your pick.
8. I couldn't draw, paint or cut on the lines if my children's lives depended on it. Can't draw a straight line with a ruler- no joke.
The list of my pros and cons goes on and on. I'm good at some things and, quite frankly, terrible at others. But if I look at the Big Picture of life, mix the good with the bad, add 'em all together and divide by the total number of things I attempt... I come out pretty darn even. One might say I'm "average". This is defined as "a typical amount; normal." And guess what- if you look further, you'll find that "average" is synonymous with "ordinary." I feel pretty good about being typical, average and ordinary. And if you've read this blog, you know I've been circling the neighborhood of "normal" looking to buy property for quite some time.
So I'll take it. I'll own my ordinary and embrace my mediocrity because not everyone is going to be extraordinary. It's a pretty small space on the curve. And some days I'll hover around the left side of the curve and on a really good day I'll dominate the right side. But let's not overlook the HUGE space in the middle that we tend to ignore and in doing so we put immense pressure on ourselves to be "above average" and perfect while we shame ourselves when we are "below average." In the end, if we can add up our days and come out with a healthy "average"... I think we can call it a successful life.