I grew up in a church that taught me that I was one of the "chosen" ones. A noble daughter of God that had important work to do. That I had the great purpose of bringing souls to the one true church through my gifts and talents that were unique to me.
And I believed it.
Until I found out that my church was based on a bed of lies and corruption.
Not super fun.
But the exceptionalism stayed with me for a long time and I am just barely now (after about six years brain rewiring work) trying to actually accept that I am just an average person living an average life.
No bells and whistles.
I have an average body. I am an average height and average weight with a few more bumps and lumps showing up every year that passes.
I am an average age. Literally. I am right in the middle of life right now.
I am an average piano player. I've been playing since I was a kid and have gotten good enough to teach average students, but you won't be seeing me on stage performing Rachmaninoff anytime soon.
Speaking of piano teaching, I am also just an average piano teacher. I've been teaching piano for over thirty years, and while I do enjoy it, I am not like those piano teachers at the conventions that are constantly excelling in every level of teaching. My students show up, I give them a good solid thirty minutes of quality piano instruction and they go home.
I am an average writer (as you can clearly see). I misspell words and write in a conversational style that blurs the lines between intentional grammar defiance and just plain ignorance.
I am an average artist. I have been doing art for as long as I can remember, but I've never really gotten good enough to make a full fledged career out of it.
I am an average photographer. I became obsessed with photography for a while but quickly learned that in order to get past the "regular girl with a dslr" phase, I was going to have to put in a lot more work than I wanted to.
I have an average IQ. I've never taken a test or anything, but I'm pretty sure I'm just average.
I am an average singer/songwriter. I've been writing songs since I was five years old and I love it. It's one of the ways I journal about my life and experiences. I have a stack of about eighty songs I've written over the years, but at the end of the day, I'm still just average at writing and singing songs. In fact, I just had one of my songs professionally produced and then submitted it to a play listing company. Let's just say it didn't go so well. One of the reviewers said that my vocals are not unique/special enough.
So yeah, they are literally pointing out how average I am at singing.
And they aren't wrong. I am an average singer.
I'm average at basically everything I do and I'm below average at a lot of things as well.
I could go on and on.
The truth is, at the end of the day, what I am is a regular human being with a variety of interests and abilities. I'm pretty good at some things, but not exceptional at anything.
And you would think that wouldn't matter all that much except we live in a world where exceptionalism is not only celebrated but excessively encouraged.
The "dream big, you can do anything you set your mind to" kind of BS that hurts us more than helps us.
What if it's actually all just a big lie?
What if average has been getting a bad rap all this time and we didn't even know it?
What if most of us are actually just average and below average at almost everything? Statistically speaking, that's the truth of it. Most people really aren't all the exceptional at much of anything at all.
In this article, Mark Manson shares that "there are over 7.2 billion people on this planet, and really only about 1,000 of those have major worldwide influence at any given time." I'm not sure if that is completely accurate right now, but i'm guessing it's pretty close.
So where does that leave us?
We know that every single person on this planet has inherent worth, regardless of what they are able to produce or create and that being below average or average at things doesn't even matter in the big picture.
Some people actually WILL be exceptional at some things and that's great for them, but what if the real beauty in humanity is the way we each show up as our own versions of a kaleidoscope, each with our own unique patterns and colors?
What if the real beauty isn't in our production and high achievements but in our connection and kindness?
What if the real beauty is in actually just being imperfect humans?
This takes hard mental work to overcome. I've had to dig deep. I've had to really come to terms with being average and ask myself what a life well-lived actually means to me. I have to work on it every single day.
But for me, it means that I'm paying attention and enjoying the little things in life.
It means that I am spending quality time with people I love and enjoying nature.
It means I am paying attention to all the beautiful things life has to offer and swimming and dabbling in the creative spaces in a way that's gentle and compassionate.
That's it. That's all that's needed.
And everyone's kaleidoscope will be different.
This is not to discredit the people who do focus in and become exceptional at one or two things, but maybe the rest of us can let go a little bit and enjoy a simpler life with a little less hustle and climbing.
Maybe each of us can simply produce little specks of light and color without the need to be perfect or follow a particular pattern.
Maybe an average life isn't so average after all.
Can we actually normalize the fact that average is completely and totally FINE and that you can live a fulfilling, purposeful, values-driven life as an average human being.
Oh, the audacity to say such things.