Whenever my grandfather would introduce me, he’d say: “This is Kristen, my oldest granddaughter. She came in last at Grandmas marathon.”
OK, first, thanks for that. Second, I wasn’t last; there were at least seven people behind me. Third, once I came to terms with being average, I owned it.
Towards the end of his life and that introduction, I ended up saying “GD was right; I was almost last, nice to meet you.” The same marathon of which my grandfather spoke, I was heckled by Senator Al Franken at mile 12 –“You are the REAL HEROES here, not those FAST GUYS in front.” So true glorious Franken, so true.
In celebration of being average, here are seven reasons why you should embrace being YOU – with or without that ‘special’ label.
Why You Should Embrace Being Average
1) What if you are already good enough? Sight unseen.
I grew up in the Midwest where you were taught you were just like everyone else, not at all special -maybe worse. I do OK in life, and have no aspirations of glory, fame, or recognition. I find I’m extremely happy that way.
Entertain the notion that perhaps you are ALREADY aces. It’s exhausting to watch people kill themselves to be special. Good enough is well…good enough.
2) Ask yourself, honestly, ‘Am I trying too hard’?
Now to quantify, some people ARE special. Their hair is shinier, they get easy A’s in quantum physics, their personalities are spun of magic, and running a 4-minute mile is no big deal. I’m not addressing these natural phenomena that many are trying to emulate.
There is a difference between being special and trying to be special. Trying to be special is a real snooze.
The 2-hour yoga sessions, the striving for unattainable perfection, the 10 miles of sleeve tattoos, or forced enlightenment – why is it assumed there is something wrong with being average? Most of the world generally just wants a loving family, fair wages, and good health. Those ideas are universal and average.
3) Give yourself permission to unclench your keister.
Getting there first, being in the know, looking especially hot, having it all, having the appearance of it all. BORING. Rise up, fight it all by being average. A wise person once said to me “Kristen (because that’s my name), why try to hit a home run every single day? Your standards should change with the sunrise, sometimes taking a shower is the real home run”.
Permission to be average? Don’t mind if I do. I mean, who really cares? At the end of our lives, will the unicycle-riding-body-gager be more revered than the average cookie-giver-awayer? Doubt it.
4) Average bananas still get eaten.
The extra effort to be “special” seems crazy when you could be enjoying what is right in front of you: life. Screw special, throw out the dress you need to fit into, don’t remodel every year, go for a walk not a cross fit-break-your-ass nightmare tour of the park, eat pretty good spaghetti, be happy with 77 percent on a test.
The amount of energy spent on going from average to special is bananas. I’m not willing to do it.
5) Be special to yourself.
I’m not saying don’t try in life. I’m saying being average has really worked for me.
I asked my husband how he would feel if someone called him “average”—“Uh, well, It’s not exactly a compliment, no one wants to be average.” I say to you – why not? What’s so offensive about being average?
Possessing random moments of specialness or a special skill is more authentic than living on the road to constant specialness. Cultivating a skill you happen to be good at—I can chew tin foil, and do, at parties, that’s as special as it gets. That’s it, seriously. Some may argue it was just showing off. Which, I am.
6) Eh..you’re good enough.
If you slow down and step back, you may find you are already good enough… or maybe not.
I didn’t receive the President’s physical fitness badge as a kid (total travesty). I was really good at long distance running and the chin up hang, but would get f*cked over on the broad jump EVERY YEAR. At the time, I was really worked up. REALLY worked up. As in, lost 6th grade sleep on it.
I wanted to be special. But I wasn’t. It chapped my ass. I wanted the right to say “I’m more special than you.” I couldn’t say that. Now, in everyday equivalents of the President’s physical fitness test, I say to you “Eh”.
7) You can’t pin amazing on me.
Mid-westerns do not celebrate specialness in the traditional sense. Quite the opposite: they celebrate commonalities. I would rather spend time with average folks than special snowflakes.
First, because special people tend to try too hard. This is an uncomfortable but honest admission. Sometimes, I’d rather NOT acknowledge a special snowflake because I know that’s what they are looking for: mad approval. Rude I know. I’m working on it.
Second, special folks seldom ask about anyone else. They are too busy pushing their own agendas. They hold you hostage until you tell them they are AMAZING. (A personal pet peeve word of mine. Think about how overused it has become – gross.)
Third, really seeing average people is beautiful. Chances are, they are a hair more confident and seldom expect the star treatment. That’s nice.
In summary, (the average wrap-up) if you are brave enough being average, by all means do. If the notion settles in that you ARE enough, you might find that you have more freedom and contentment.