Mediocre

Sometimes I feel like this word defines my life.

Mediocre.

First of all I want to say that I am not writing this here to get comments that say “Oh Elaine, you are so great, etc, etc….” I mean, if you really think that, then awesome but I’m not looking for it.
That’s not why I am writing this.

I say it because it’s true. And because I just FEEL it.

I think in some way we all yearn to be extraordinary. I have tried many things in my life yet I don’t feel like I have ever truly been extraordinary at any of them.

I was a good student, but not the best.

I played soccer fairly well but not the best.

I am a good singer but not good enough to be a professional.

I made decent grades in college and earned a degree but other than meeting my husband at that time, I do not have much to show for it.

I worked diligently and ethically at all of my jobs but never got past being a “worker bee”.

I am most certainly not the best Mother (okay, maybe for MY kids I am, but you know what I mean…)

I run but I do not run the fastest or win any races.

I can make a mean chocolate chip cookie but sometimes they still turn out flat.

I write fairly well but I’m not the wordsmith that others I know certainly are.

I have a blog and I love it and it’s my own wonderful space but it’s no award winner.

I snap some pretty decent photographs and it makes me SO happy to take them yet I do not feel they are as good as they could be.

All of my life I have been average and the yearning to do something extremely well and be at least ONE of the best at that something has always been there for me. And watching others who are SO good at something that I also like to do has been hard at times.

I am being completely honest with you all here. And I’m not trying to put myself down, I just feel, wonder, think – where does the extraordinary come in? How does one get there?

Is my lack of extraordinary because I’m too lazy or not truly motivated enough? Is it because that’s just who I am? I can do many things at once, all of them so-so. Perhaps it’s because I am just one among many, trying to do the same thing….

So what if I focus on JUST one, could I then be the best?  Or really, is anyone ever THE best?  Or are some people just born with BEST-ness?

I wonder, I do.

Where is MY extraordinary?

Maybe it is still to come.

Just maybe.

parenting BY dummies

Comments

  1. Elaine, I wonder if we all feel this way- at least the humble ones- because I have felt this all my life. And I don’t consider it insecurity but maybe that’s what it is. Definitely a longing to be special. And I don’t think it’s a grass is always greener issue either. I think if I were to feel like I was the best at something, my guard would be down and I’d be in a vulnerable situation. If that makes sense? I think I’m just rambling now but it’s “safe” to be mediocre and without even knowing it I wonder if I’m just protecting my heart and not going for that “whatever it is” that will put me at risk of being truly awesome. Because what if I embarrass myself? Or fail? Or just get ignored yet again? Ah, so much to think about here…. and much love to you.

    Steph

    • Thanks Steph, I’m amazed at what I’m getting from the comments on this post. So many people feeling the same and opening up. I think it’s wonderful that so many of us yearn for it in some way, because maybe we will get there. And then many are good with mediocrity and I think that is pretty awesome too. :)

      Love back…

  2. I love this, I truly do. Maybe questioning is the first step in finding your extraordinary. I think if you asked Tim and the kids though, “mediocre” would not make the list.

    This same question has been running around my brain for some time, leading me to feel restless, unpurposeful (word?). I don’t like it, not one bit, but I understand.

    XO – A

    • I think it may be the first step for me… I feel a strong pull from one of the things at that list. But something is holding me back from going for it and I’m just not sure why…

  3. I always say the same thing about myself. I do a lot of things really well- but definitely not the best at anything or even close. But you know, I can fit in with a lot of people and relate to a lot because I am good at and do a little bit of everything.

  4. I love this, Elaine, so very much.

    It’s honest and raw and relatable. I think all of us feel this way at one point or another, no?

    The safe and the easy is where we all long to be, (almost as much? Just as much?) as the extraordinary.

    I’m not sure what I’m trying to say, but I am so very glad that you wrote this.

    xo

    • I think you are so right about the “safe and easy” part. Maybe part of being extraordinary is just being willing to take the chance or risk. You’ve given me even more to think about here, Galit. Just another reason why I love you. :)

  5. Oh my how this speaks to me. Really, I can not tell you how often I think and feel the exact same way.

  6. And if you were the total best at some thing, you would not see it, you would search for a flaw …
    Its a lot like balance, we think its attainable .. but it remains elusive. Maybe the best is the same, if we were extraordinary at one thing, it would be at the cost of another.
    So that would make average good, attainable, doable and hopefully nothing else suffers.
    Sounds like it would be good enough if all the things that you do make you happy …

  7. Just wanted to say that I can totally relate to everything you are saying here. I’m far from extraordinary at anything and sometimes that does make me feel a little sad–like I’m not living up to my full potential or something like that. I do think in my case it is narrowing my focus and figuring out what it is that I want to really focus on doing better and limiting the distractions.

    Anyway, I just had to tell you how much I enjoyed this post. It was definitely far from mediocre. :-)

    • Oh my goodness, Jen! So good to “see” you and hear from you, first off! :-)

      Glad you liked the post and I agree with you on narrowing the focus, I think that is something I need to look into as well. Hope all is well with you!!

  8. I feel exactly the same way. Aside from the soccer, I could have written this EXACT post, word for word. I’m not kidding. We have many of the same hobbies and interests!! And I feel like I’m just “okay” at all of them.

    I guess the comments here just prove that many of us feel this way. It is hard to see that those who really excel are actually in a very small minority, maybe 5%? But it definitely seems like a much higher number when you feel like you’re just sitting on the mediocre bench, watching them shine …

    I’ve learned that I just need to focus on being the best “me” that I can.

    P.S. I do think you are awesome! xx

    • Thank you Hannah, I think you’re pretty awesome too! :)

      And you have that right. Being the best “me” I can. So true. I love it and your comment. Thank you again…

      xo

  9. Sometimes I think we need others to notice the extraordinary in our lives. I mean, you moved your entire family from one state to another. That’s HUGE. A lot of people couldn’t do that.
    I know when someone says, “Yeah, but you can do this or that.” and it honestly doesn’t feel extraordinary because it’s normal or natural for us…but that other person (and many others like them) can’t do what we do. I’m not sure…
    But this post made me sad but also totally able to relate to it.
    Thanks for being honest. Love you!

    • Wait, you moved yours to a foreign country!! Extraordinary for sure. And I love your perspective Vanessa, you are so right, sometimes it takes others to see in us what we ourselves cannot see.

      Thank you. SO much.

      Love you back! :)

  10. I have said this about myself since high school. I never excelled at anything I did. There was always someone faster, smarter, more naturally talented than me. I used the word “average”. I’m glad I’m in good company.

    • You are in good company. For some reason I just started thinking about this now. Maybe because my birthday is coming up and I’m just being reflective, not sure. I think you are more than average, btw…. xoxo

  11. Elaine, I feel exactly the same way. I’ve verbalized it to my husband many times, that I feel like I haven’t really accomplished anything in life, as everything I’ve done, is pretty average.

    I don’t think it’s laziness. I think it’s partly perception of ourselves, based on what society dictates to be ‘excellent’. Like, getting an award, criteria which is decided by other people.

    Just know that you’re not alone in feeling this way!

    (for the record, I do think your photography is really good, just sayin’)

    • Thank you Alison. You have a good point about the perception of our own selves and others have echoed the same…

      And you landed on the one thing on the list that I think I need to focus on the most…. we’ll see…

  12. It sounds to me like you are a perfectionist. What might be extraordinary to one person, just seems mediocre to you. A lot of what you mentioned…running, singing, photography, etc. are all things I wish I had just a sliver of talent in.

    Keep on being you. You ARE awesome.

    • Honestly, I am not and I had to giggle a little because there are many things I do where I’m like, “aw, that’s fine” and it is SO NOT perfect! LOL.

      Anyway, thank you, you have a good point. Everyone has their certain talents and things they good at for instance I cannot and will not ever play tennis or be a very good at so many various other things. And that’s perfectly okay. :)

  13. Oh I get this. So much. I know at least some of it is me, my lack of effort, but not all of it. Going to Blissdom was so great, but it was hard at times too. Because I still don’t know what my passion/dream is. I’m still trying to figure it out. And sometimes being in the blogosphere only feeds those feelings of mediocrity. I get it, girl.

    • You’re right, being in the blogosphere DOES feed those feelings totally. I see a lot of what I think is extraordinary in our community all the time. :)

      Thanks Nicole…

  14. I go through stages of feeling the exact same way. So I get it. I also think that being extraordinary takes a lot of work and I am just too damn lazy.

    :)

    But a friend pointed out to me all that I do. And you do all that (see list above) and that makes you awesome!

    So there :P

    • We ARE awesome!! :-) I think it takes others to show us how extraordinary we are, just like your friend did for you. And like others have said here.

      Thanks girl. xo

  15. I get this post, so much! And not oddly enough, feel the exact same way as you do! How did you get inside my head, Elaine?

    • I’m talented like that…. guess I should add “getting in people’s” head to my list, huh? ;-P

      I think we all feel it sometimes, EVEN those who are highlighted as “extraordinary” in some way.

  16. Oh, Elaine. I think we all feel this way. And for what is worth, I think you are amazing, I do.

  17. ((HUG)) I know this feeling so well – and clearly many others do, too.

    There’s nothing special about me, nothing that sets me apart. I get great ideas but when it comes down to making them a reality I have a tendency to fall short.

    Do what makes you happy. You’re the best at being YOU.

    • Thank you Jen! I think you’re right with that last line and I am learning that through all of these fabulous comments, including yours. :) xo

  18. I’ve always felt this exact same way. Always. I hope for more for my kids. But maybe this is good enough? I dunno. xoxo

  19. i felt like i was reading something I wrote myself. thank you so much for posting and making me feel like I’m not alone! Maybe we’re extraordinary at being mediocre lol…

    New follower by the way! I love your blog! Came over from PYHO!

  20. Sometimes I have the feeling that I’m a “jack of all trades, master of none.” And sometimes I’m ok with that and sometimes I feel like that’s just not enough. So, I get what you’re saying here. And I also think for me, sometimes the time of year makes me feel “less than” other times of year. Does that make sense? Anyway, big hug to you.

  21. There are seven billion people in the world. We all can’t be the best at something. And even if we could what would be the odds that the thing we were the best at was something we actually enjoyed. Like what if I’m the world’s best gas pumper, or the best toilet bowl cleaner (I’m not), or the best at sitting on my couch and reading a book (I’m really, really good at that)…. See what I mean. I definitely get where you are coming from, but I think the secret is to learn to rejoice in not being the best AT something but be the best at being YOU.

    • I totally get what you are saying. There are a lot of damn people in the world, huh? I was just wondering how people get to “stand out” in their one thing or whatever. And I’m really, REALLY good at drinking wine, so I absolutely get it – lol!

  22. This post totally resonants with me because I feel the same way. I’ve always been good at lots of things but I’m never the best at anything. Recently I decided that I’ll probably never be the best at something I’d want to be the best at, but being good at lots of things is something to be proud of, so I’m going to keep trying to do things that I can be proud of and hope that’s good enough. :)

    • I think it IS good enough. Perhaps being the “best” is overrated. We wear so many hats as women and mothers, don’t we? Thanks Angie! xo

  23. Gosh, I’ve felt this way! Sometimes I let myself being content in knowing that where I REALLY stand out–where I am NOT mediocre is that I’m not afraid to let others be better and I’m okay with who I am. Excelling at mediocrity is an art. :)

  24. I feel this way all the time. And sometimes it makes me want to quit various things b/c I think what’s the point if I’m not extraordinary? But then I realize that hardly anyone would do anything if only the best kept going.

  25. I think that extraordinary is overrated. When you think of all those extraordinary people one of the things they are missing is happiness. They have essentially put “all their eggs in one basket” and when they lose the ability to be happy because of that one thing they don’t have anything left.

    I think you certainly could be extraordinary in any one of those things you listed, but then you would have to give up all the others.

    What you are is balanced. And a pretty awesome balanced. Creative, athletic, mother, friend, etc.

    Go ahead make mediocre the new extraordinary.

  26. I don’t know what it takes to be extraordinary. I know I’m not but then again I’m the only me so maybe that makes me extraordinary? I don’t know. I’m just trying to be happy.

    • I think you have it right that you are the only “you”. The comments on this post are really helping me to re-evaluate was IS extraordinary. And I think we all are in our own way, for sure.

      Thanks Jessica!

  27. Someone told me once that there will always be someone better than you. I had a choice of what to do with that statement. I? I decided that it would be ok if there were betters. That wasn’t going to throw me off from being the best me. The extraordinary me. YOU are the extraordinary YOU. You are the extraordinary, apple of their eye,reason for them to smile, shoulder they crave, mom to them. You have to believe that. That, which is the truth. We are our own worst enemies. I’m not saying I never feel this way, believe me I do. Those are my vallies that help kick my ass up the hill to do better the next day, the next week. None of us are perfect. We can’t count on worldly comparisons at all. We don’t know/see the whole story. I say all of this to say you are extraordinary you just need to see it for yourself. Hugs to you, my friend. Best of luck in this valley and let the ass kicking begin!

    • This comment just made me smile so big, especially that last part! ;) I’m coming to find from the comments on this post 1)I am extraordinary just for being me (cheesy but true) and 2) We are all extraordinary in our own ways but we cannot necessarily see it.

      Thanks for your Kick Ass comment! :D

  28. I think we all feel this sometimes. I know I certainly do. But then I also think that when we die we are not going to be extraordinary because we won a marathon, or won writing awards, or sang on Broadway, or etc. I think what really makes us extraordinary is how each of us is so different. There is not one duplicate out there. No one is you. Not even close. Not even twins are duplicates. We are extraordinary in that no one will ever be like us. And that is pretty amazing. It may sound silly, but when you really think about that it is pretty amazing.

  29. I feel the same exacty way. I have said so many times to my husband that I feel like I’m in my 30′s and have nothing to show for it. I don’t have outstanding accomplishments and I don’t exceed in any certain area. I just feel, blah.

  30. Oh, Elaine, you are so GREAT, etc, etc…… ;)

    Seriously, I feel the same way, too…… and I’ve seriously come to terms with it…. and I’m ok with it now. The only time I feel extraordinary is when I’m complimented about what a good girl Elizabeth is…… compliments on our kids is the highest compliment we can get as moms…… and just being a mom is extraordinary….. but it is a thankless, looked over job.

    • Thanks Susan, I think the same of you! Really… ;-)

      And you’re right, we Moms are pretty darn extraordinary. I mean we birth the babies and everything!! :D

  31. Some days I feel like I am bathing in mediocrity. Other days I feel like a shining egotistical star. You are you. It is the best you can be, and living life wholly is anything but mediocre. Also, I understand exactly what you mean. And it is a weight off your soul when you can express it. That is exactly what blogging is sometimes, too. Therapy. I love to just state facts because it is the one place I can be honest.

    This post shined. Your mediocrity is someone else’s dream come true! Think of it that way. The simple moments make the bigger picture. They really do. :)

    Alita

  32. I can so much relate to this.

  33. It sounds so cliche but the maxim is true that only you can be you. Only you can be the kind of soccer player you are, the mother you are, the writer you are, the baker you are. Of course none of this helps when what you’re also feeling is that your unique you isn’t recognized. I feel that way often and so many people do too. Our culture is always looking for stars and people who shine above the rest. But who puts them there – us average folk. I guess sometimes all we can ask for is to be seen and understood. And it looks like you are getting that from this post – which I thank you for.

    • Hi Mary!

      You have a good point about us average people putting others on a pedestal. I do that with just “regular” people I know, just because I think they are better at something than I am. It’s just human nature, I guess. But yes, you’re right. Part of being extraordinary is just by being our best selves. Thanks for your comment. :)

  34. This is such a wonderfully written post Elaine! Don’t we all feel this way…just glancing through all your comments here seems to confirm that this is a pretty universal feeling, but you’re just really good at expressing it! I don’t know if I really would want to be extraordinary at much. Just think, it’d be kinda like being famous. People would be watching, wondering if you were going to mess up. And I’m sure that I would…thanks for sharing this!

  35. I completely relate to this, and yearn for the chance to be extraordinary at something, anything.

    Have you read ‘Outliers’? Sounds like the path to extraordinary is filled with lots and lots of concentrated effort on just one thing and lots of luck on the way as well.