life · minimalism · musings

SHOULD WE AIM FOR MEDIOCRITY?

In my recent online travels I came across an intriguing post, What if All I Want is A Mediocre Life?, by blogger Krista O’Reilly-Davi-Digui. When I saw the title, I felt as if it had been written for me. That exact question has been swirling through my head for quite some time now, and I found a lot of solace in Krista’s reflections.

Since I began exploring minimalism, I’ve become comfortable with my perceived mediocrity, but the world around me still finds it unacceptable. My life is too slow, too boring and, well, just too damn mediocre. I know this because when I compare my life to what is considered ‘normal’ for someone of my age, gender and education, there are a lot of differences. Take my high school classmates, for example. A lot of them have moved to Sydney, Melbourne or London, and are pursuing careers in business, marketing and the law. They’re confident, charismatic and talented. They’re buying their first homes, going on lavish European holidays and spending their weekends partying with people who are equally as glamorous as they are.

Meanwhile, I still live in the city I grew up in, pretty much never travel and find it difficult to stay up past 10pm. I have a minimum-wage office job which doesn’t leave much room for savings, and when I think about it, I don’t really have any career ambitions. I’m a homebody, I’m awkward and find it hard to start a conversation. I need excessive amounts of down time and alone time, and even the smallest undertakings feel like too much for me. The other night I attended an informal work dinner at a busy restaurant and arrived home afterwards with a throbbing headache, completely exhausted from trying to speak above the noise for what felt like hours on end, and I barely slept that night as a result. Why, an earlier version of myself would have been tempted to ask, can I not even handle a run-of-the-mill social outing?

The present me, however, didn’t ask this question, because I’ve realised that being me, just existing as myself, is enough. I’m shy and awkward; so be it. I’m easily overwhelmed, easily tired, and I can handle that. I’m good at lots of things but no genius, and that’s ok. I’m not confident or charismatic, but in my own small way I’m important. I care about other people and their feelings, I care about the environment, and I appreciate the little things in life. Best and most excitingly of all, I’m growing as a person. Since I embarked on my journey towards a simpler life, I’ve noticed that the world seems easier to handle. I now barely even notice the things that used to annoy me. The stuff I was drawn to in shop displays just doesn’t appeal to me any longer. The horrible people who upset or angered me in the past don’t even show up on my emotional radar. Now instead of trying to achieve, I’m quite alright just drifting along and figuring out who I am.

Am I mediocre? Well, I’m divided on the terminology here. If living a smaller, simpler life is mediocre, then sign me up, but on the other hand I feel the word is loaded with negative implications. To me, mediocrity means unoriginality, banality, mindless following of the crowd. I prefer the word simplicity. Why settle for more when you can settle for less? Less stress and less stuff means more meaning and more joy. How could that be mediocre? I say aim not for mediocrity, but for a simple life filled with rich emotional experiences and little moments of joy!

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12 thoughts on “SHOULD WE AIM FOR MEDIOCRITY?

  1. It’s like you can read my mind! I genuinely don’t understand when people say things like “I have these specific monetary or thing goals for my next five years”- why? It just doesn’t make sense to me. Love your mediocre life! Let’s start a mediocre revolution! Being us enough- it’s when we try to be something we’re not that all kinds of problems spring up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad this resonated with you, Brittany!! Thank you so much for reading 🙂 It’s comforting for me to know there are others out there who are not willing to settle for more!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Lovely post Lisa. If you look at the definition of mediocre (of only average quality, not very good), then it is far from accurate for you. Like you say, simplicity is far more accurate.

    People get so caught up in trying to make everything better in their lives, that they lose sight of the most important thing – the here and now. I don’t see anything wrong with striving to be the best that you can be, but to focus inwards and appreciate what you have in your life right now is far more powerful.

    I greatly enjoy reading your blog Lisa, so keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, James! I am so glad to hear you are enjoying the blog. It has been great connecting online and I am looking forward to continuing reading your thoughts over on your blog, too. Nice to hear you found value in my thoughts on mediocrity 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed your post, Lisa. It reminds me of the thrill I felt in discovering Brene Brown’s work on shame, and Susan Cain’s book, ‘Quiet
    The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’.
    The more people that share their strengths and weaknesses, the more others feel it is okay to not be ‘perfect’.

    Like

  4. So much courage to be that honest! Wow. It feels like the right time, I notice as I and the world gets fed up with the glamorous image of happy go-getters (maybe, not the world, but definitely me :). I applause your choice to be who you are.

    Like

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