The Chase for Mediocrity

It’s a conversation I’ve had numerous times over the last several months. I’ve talked about it with Chad. My Dad. My sister. Over coffee with friends. While running side by side with another friend. It’s a conversation I’ve had, again and again, in my own mind-thoughts whirling and swirling and twisting my brain cells until they hurt.

I’ve said things like, I think mediocre is as good as it’s going to get for me. I think mediocre just might be where I’m going to land.

Let me explain. . . 

Moments after I open my instagram feed I am met with captions that say something like this, Grow Your Instagram Following in these Six Easy Steps.

Or. . .

How to Quadruple Your Bookings THIS Year.

Or my personal favorite. . .

How to Make Six Figures While Never Getting Out of your Yoga pants. (For the record, I am the one person in the world that does not own a pair of yoga pants, so that one would have never worked for me–don’t judge.)

The messages find me everywhere.

All summer, as I walked outside for a run, I placed ear buds in my ear and listened to this podcast or that one that so often touted the path I needed to take in order to accomplish this goal and that one.

“How To Market Yourself!”
“How To Be An Influencer!”
“How to Increase Your Productivity and Gain Followers OVERNIGHT!”

The messages are everywhere–Dream Big Dreams! Chase Your Dreams! Hustle!

DO MORE. MAKE MORE. STRIVE MORE. BE MORE.

After my inspiring-message filled run each morning, I returned home inspired and motivated and ready to create a plan of action for our next steps. And then I stepped inside the door. . . 

Mommy, do you want to play Skip-Bo?
Mama, have you seen my soccer socks?
Mommy, Asher peed in the living room.
Mommy, lets read a book!

With lightning speed, I was pulled back into reality and felt the tug-of-war between my real life and the life for which I was, apparently, supposed to reach.

Every night when Chad returned home from work, I spewed my million thoughts about all that I’m not doing. What I should be doing. How I’m failing. How I could be better.

(He’s a lucky, lucky man, no?)

I was never doing enough to get “there”.

The message was clear. . You are not enough.

Or, the message I was interpreting was, I am not enough.

A month ago I sat across from my Dad at his kitchen table. My dad and I have the same make-up. (Not Estee Lauder, mind you.) He and I are made of the same stuff. His go-get-’em-goal-driven-push-hard genes run fiercely through me and I knew he would understand me. I unsuccessfully fought back my tears as I told him my recent revelation that mediocrity would be my lot in life. That, in the context of my life and our story, I would only be able to push so hard. Go so far. Achieve so much.

(A flair for the dramatic? Who me?)

My Dad let me talk and when I finished he stared for a moment while I breathed deep and prepared myself for a Timeless Tom Lecture Speech.
Cue Dad: Summer, what are you talking about? Look at your life. Look at your relationship with Chad. Look at your beautiful family. You’re running your business. You’re running. Your life is full. Your life is anything but mediocre.

His words were everything I thought they would be. Everything that my heart already knew. There is nothing mediocre about my life. About the people I get to call family. . . friends. There is nothing mediocre at all–I see it. . . I know it.

Still, the world pulls me in. It lures me with the calls toward work=worth. More= Better.

The world, man she’s so loud. Sometimes I hear her screams–selling me on her big dreams that can be measured by dollar signs and twitter followers. More often than not I am tempted by her calls. I am enticed by her promises that worth will be found when I get “there”. Mary Oliver’s words call me to toward the mountaintop, What am I going to do with my one wild and precious life?

Dream bigger, chase harder, strive more, work more, become more. I am charged, tried and found guilty of believing that this one, wild and precious life means ‘notice me’, ‘see me’. 

***************

Success. The word gives me a headache. It can be defined in a million different ways by a million different people. Success for one might not be success for another. In fact, it strikes me that success for one, might even be failure to another. To define success by the definition of another is like trusting the mirrors in a carnival funhouse. They are skewed, they are off, they are wrong. It strikes me that success will never be defined by looking outward–it can only be defined by looking inward.

Looking inward has found me here. . . at mediocre. I use the word facetiously–knowing that there is nothing at all mediocre about the beautiful life that has been gifted to me. Looking inward has allowed me to see that I am in a season that often requires me to say ‘no’. This season asks me to be smaller. Slow down. Be present in the here and now. For me, motherhood means setting aside things that “might be” or “could be” for things that actual are–right here, right now.

What am I going to do with my one wild and precious life? I’m going to step out onto the road in the early morning hours and feel breeze hit my face as my feet pound the pavement. I’m going to come home and greet three little humans that, for a time, I get to share a roof. I’m going to laugh with Chad and parent our little people with a little too much sarcasm and capture the stories of those who entrust their moments to me. I’m going to meet my friends for coffee and sit on the sidelines of soccer games. There’s more, I’m sure, but in the end I’m going to do this. . .

I’m going to love the heck out of my beautiful mediocre life.

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