Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Did you ever go through that phase in high school where all of your free time, and even time that technically wasn’t yours to spend was invested in the website MLIA, or My Life Is Average? I’m not willing to admit how much time I spent perusing the obviously embellished stories on that site, and I am even less willing to admit how jealous each of those little blurbs made me. For those who are unfamiliar, the site is for people – who are ridiculously good writers – to share stories of the ‘average’ things that happen to them. Of course none of them are actually average – in fact, I’m still not convinced that the authors weren’t just paid comedians in collaboration trying to make the rest of us feel boring as all get out. Well anyway, you see where I got the title of this post, if nothing else.
When I was in high school, it was a huge ‘realization’ in the parenting world that people should stop telling their kids that they are special. The thinking was that filling children with ideas of grandeur will inevitably lead to depression and feelings of inadequacy later in life when they don’t in fact become the President of the United States, or the next Michael Jordan, or the pre-mental breakdown Britney Spears equivalent. Even through college, studies were steadily emerging about how social media has detrimental effects on one’s confidence. Nobody runs to Facebook to post about his average Wednesday afternoon at work, or a B- on her entomology exam; rather, the feeds are full of new jobs at Fortune 50 companies, extravagant engagement proposals, and exotic spring break destinations that are mysteriously affordable for FAFSA’s stipendiaries. (I’m just saying – I can’t be the only one who noticed that.) As such, this online overload of success and positivity, combined with abeyant (and fabled) potential instilled by our parents, is believed to hamper your average Joe.
I believe there is truth to each of these earth-shattering turning points in parenting 101, so I’m writing to say that I’m just as small and insignificant as you are, and I accept it. I was thinking today – comparatively, we are meaningless. If you don’t believe me, pause and let this #spontaneoushistorylesson prove it to you. Belittling, right? What I thought was particularly engaging was that, with all of this in perspective, we are still so damn shitty to one another, and for what? For recognition from your boss? For a little extra spending money every month? For a nicer house? All of our squabbling and discord with one another is so “extra“, as the kids say. Often the end result of it all is to obtain recognition or nicer things for ourselves when really, who the fuck are you, again?
So my point today is – stop and think about your place on a larger scale. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to be the best you possible, or that you shouldn’t be thankful for your successes and your nice toys. I’m saying I hope that today – not someday – we can stop squelching each other to ‘get ahead’ and make ourselves stand out. Let’s let those six footers stand tall and acceptingly wear our five foot six inches for the next ~55ish years of our lives. Let those engineers build the dope ass bridges, and you be the best damn grocery bagger in your check-out lane. In the end, history will forget you just as quickly as it forgot so many peasants before you. My friend, my life is average and you can bet yours is too – embrace it.
Tldr; your child is the next POTUS or grocery bagger. Really, it’s a meaningless toss-up. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯