Aiming for Excellence but Thrilled with Average

Why would anyone want to read my blog?  I’m a white, middle class American.  It’s not like there’s a cutting edge anywhere in my comfy wonder bread existence.   The internet is filled with witty, insightful commentary, unique voices, and colorful experience.

That’s not me.   I like to sleep in.  I prefer shallow social dialogue.  I never wake up in the middle of the night trying to solve the world’s issues.

I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about brownies.

And sometimes, as I munch on a square of chocolaty “Hate me in the morning” deliciousness, I check out the internet.  Listen to the voices of the people.  It’s wild.  Posts range from brilliant, philosophical treaties articulated from the depths of the soul to raucous, whacky diatribes spouting from the social fringe.   These diverse perspectives are a fun escape in the dark.

But I wouldn’t want to live there.

I mean, if you had to think deeply about every single thing, who would have time to watch “Hoarders”?  Someone has to justify the need for 500 cable channels.  And although the fringe is colorful, it’s not comfortable.  Refusing to sell out to “rampant consumerism” and “opting out” of organized society, most likely means you live in a tent.

I don’t want to live in a tent.  Especially since I think I will become a hoarder living under a pile of my rampant consumerism.  Can you imagine the packing and unpacking?

The majority of us fall somewhere between the cushion of genius and the fringe of the blanket.  Somewhere in the middle of the bed.  I know this because I took a class in statistics.  Twice.  The second time, I hired two tutors named Amrita and Zhang to take shifts drawing pictures and laying fervent hands upon my head in prayer .  Like a twisted graduate school version of the three musketeers, we slaved away for an entire semester before I miraculously passed with a C-.   Most of it didn’t stick.  (I blame Zhang who had a facial tick and an odd habit of saying, “This not is difficult.”)  But I do remember a beautiful rainbow shaped curve forming a bell.  This bell was magic.  No matter how many times a task was attempted, the numbers would shake out, smoke would settle, and there would be almost everybody having a party under the “bell”.

And that’s where the majority of us hang out.  Under the bell.  The land of average.  But instead of celebrating our status, we malign it.  It’s not good to be “only average”.  One must be above average.  And if you are only average, you should never admit it.  You should make a big deal of pointing out who is below average and hope the above average people invite you to their Scentsy parties.

For years I tried to play the game.  Get my numbers up.  Climb the ladder.  Whiten my teeth and religiously wear Spanks.  But somewhere in the mid thirties, reality dawned.  I would never get the gold medal in figure skating.  Or sit on Ellen’s couch.  Or take a midnight call from the White House.  I was only average.  I was the designated “audience” to the parade of stars in People magazine.  Not only was I average, but I would have to scrap and claw and scramble to stay average.  Physically, I’d peaked.   Age was marching (mostly downward) across my stats.

It was depressing.  I cancelled my subscription to “People” immediately.  I signed up for “Simple Living”.  I bought comfortable shoes.  I stopped feeling guilty about shopping at Walmart.  In short, I accepted my cup.

And then God turned my life upside down.  My career.  Snap.  My health.  Crackle.  My sanity.  Pop.

In that dark time, I would have sold my soul to be only average.  It was touch and go.  But instead of dying, moving in with the folks, or cosmically communing with Elvis, I lived.  Eventually the numbers shook out and the dust settled and I was once again under the bell.

And life in the curve is a lot nicer than I ever noticed before.  So what if my hair will only go one way.  And my purse is from my neighbor’s garage sale.  And my son continues to use his sleeve as a napkin at age ten.  No one is watching.  That’s the freedom of average.

Here under the bell, I’ve learned that something has value because it has been assigned value.  So, I can value whatever I want.  A sunset.  A really good cup of coffee.  An episode of “Toddler’s in Tiaras”.  Whatever.  The term “rich” is subject to the standard of measurement.  How rich is the life of those set free from the status quo.  Having been relegated to insignificance by the world’s esteem, we can find richness in gift of a new day.

So as I neared my fourth decade, I commenced a life of dedicated underachievement.   And occasionally I meet a like minded spirit, and we celebrate our mediocrity with glorious spontaneity like preschoolers in the park.

If only I had known how delicious is the life of the “unknown masses”.  I would have embraced my ho-humness years ago.  In fact, the freedom of average was so transformational, I wondered if anyone was getting the word out.   “Lukewarm is the new hot.”   Incredulously, I discovered “average” is woefully underrepresented in the blogosphere.


So, with as much forethought as I put into anything, I pick up the mantel of the “average joe-ann”.  This is for the rest of us.  Who spend the majority of our time looking for our car keys and wondering if we were supposed to be somewhere.   Never quite living up to the expectation we put on ourselves.  Those of us wearing comfortable shoes.

Let’s eat brownies in the dark and celebrate the sunrise.  Life is shorter than we expect, sweeter than we know, and immeasurably more valuable than anything on cable.  I am in no way specially qualified in anything.  There is no good reason to read this blog.

Isn’t that awesome?


Hollylu  7 <  8

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