Never Yawn or Say Commonplace Things

July 16, 2010

The last few months, I have undoubtably driven those closest to me insane with my incessant talk of mediocrity. It has been “mediocre this,” and “meh that.” As a matter of fact, I even declared the title of my unwritten autobiography to be “Accepting Average” … compelling, I know.

In my usual densely-skulled fashion, what I failed to immediately realize is that I was not only sounding absurd and defeatist, but I was probably offending everyone in my life. All the far from mediocre people who enrich my day-to-day. It took my wonderfully patient gentleman caller a hundred repeats of “you can’t be mediocre as long as you’re with me” for me to grasp it… I was getting downright insulting.

Why all the talk and talk of average? Well… I suppose when all was said and done, it was a cop-out for not pursuing more. The past year has been a series of lessons and turbulent growth on my part. This winter, my first booze-free hibernation, marked one of the deepest depressions I’ve experienced in years.

The mediocre declaration was my way of saying “I’ve done nothing noteworthy, probably will do nothing noteworthy, and I am just going to be okay with the way things are.”  On the tail end of some very real change and self- reflection, I found myself confronted with a paradox of sorts.

A friend whose opinion I hold in rather high regard relayed to me, during this whole “average dilemma,” that she considered mediocrity and contentment to be one in the same…

This left me wondering: if being satisfied with your situation leaves you stranded at average; the pursuit of happiness is, therefore, a wholly fruitless endeavor. Do we settle for good enough and be complacent? Or do we remain insatiable, dissatisfied, and working always for something more?

While it seemed a little disheartening and sent me back to the existential drawing board, I’ve begun to accept my friend’s more important message: you are only as mediocre, complacent, and/or irrelevant as you allow yourself to be.

Accepting average, then, is a self-fulfilling prophecy for pseudo-satisfaction. Its the reason seemingly-happy men-in-suits leave their cars running in the garage on some unassuming Wednesday morning. It’s why people have affairs; go sky diving; or spend their life savings on a material whim. Escaping the cycle of monotony. The drone of scheduled encounters, sales at the grocery store, and weekly lawn mowing. People waking up, for only a moment, and saying “this isn’t life!”

So… Perhaps instead of forfeiting the pursuit of happiness and setting up xanax camp in Averagetown, USA, I should keep hiking this trail. While dissatisfaction seems to inevitably linger, I guess when you keep moving, at least it doesn’t get boring, too.

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4 Responses to “Never Yawn or Say Commonplace Things”

  1. Jeremy Says:

    This is a great post. I see myself in the same sinking ship every day. I’m hoping my job/location change will fix this problem.

  2. BathtubGym Says:

    I don’t think you’re average. You resemble that gorgeous actress Samantha Eggar from “Run, Don’t Walk” and “Dr. Dolittle”. You have a dog with a great name that’s not very average.

    You leave Tom Robbins quotes on your blog. That’s not average. You are accessible. You are a writer. You do fun thing that get you photos of you and Trey (and TenaciousTIJ) at a very non-average show. You’re quite funny. You seem to be real. With real problems. That you’re trying to solve. You don’t seem to want to illusion yourself. You have ideas.

    Hey, I aspire to be normal and stable. If that makes me “average” than so be it.

    Average, consistent, and stable is far more heroic than we all give it credit for. Being interesting isn’t … all it’s cracked up to be. As the point of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

    I get David Byrne’s love of comfortable Hush Puppy shoes and the solace of wide open spaces, and reading Tom Robbins books where he poetically talks about New Orleans on hot summer days and makes me think.

    “Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine.”

    You have a lot of good ideas. You’re not very average.


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