I was chatting with a close friend I made through the blogging world in the month of December last year (@Sahi, you know its you ;)), and I told her that this year I wanted to write more about existential questions that have been haunting me since the time I turned 40. Maybe its a midlife thing, maybe it is a sudden quest towards spirituality or maybe just random questions about how to navigate life, but I’m hoping to get some wisdom and suggestions from readers who might have the patience to read through the entire post! It is the age of ADHD after all. There is too much to do, too much information and too little time do process it all without losing our mind, isn’t it? But in a world of more than twenty billion people, I’m hoping that I might come across at least one stranger who has questions or struggles similar to mine and might be looking at it all different or have some more insights for me?
Before I start though, I want to share a segue about where I am writing from today 🙂 As part of my Artist’s Date, I’m sitting in a Starbucks cafe with my Vanilla sweet cream cold brew. I charged my old Mac Air so it wouldn’t run out of battery and brought it along on my errand so that I could sit in a cafe and write this blog. It has been a fantasy of mine to write from a cafe one day. Like real writers who sit for hours in a cafe or a pub and write. So, part of that has been fulfilled. But I must say, I wish the cafe was quieter..hehe. It is Sunday evening and one thing about being in India is that you won’t find any place that isn’t crowded on a weekend. Well, I hope people around me are too busy to be reading over my blog or paying attention to me 😉
Okay, so the musing or question for today is the importance of being average. I recently joined a new company and very soon realised that I wasn’t the exceptional Business Analyst that I had thought myself to be since the last fifteen years of working. I am now surrounded by younger, more talented, more intelligent and more ambitious colleagues and every day I feel like I am drowning or playing catch up. But one day, when my boss was talking to me about his expectations and how we can all be exceptional, I blurted out, but I don’t want to be at the top! I don’t want more money because I am satisfied with what I earn right now, I don’t want to be sent abroad on work assignments because I’d rather travel on leisure and I don’t want a promotion because I’d rather have less work so I can have a work life balance and give time to myself and my family. So all I want really, is for you to not fire me. And surely you would need some average people who won’t demand a raise or a promotion every month and will stick to the company and turn up and just finish the work given to them, diligently, even if they are a little slower than the others?
There was an awkward pause on the other end of the phone call, because face to face meetings are rare these days. But he then said that I should stop joking and start working now. Sigh!
Dear readers – The working, struggling people out there, if you’re reading this post, my question to you is – is it wrong to desire to be average? Should there be more of us standing up and announcing, “I am average and I am proud to be one”!? I, for one think this is the age where we need to champion average-ism because everyone is being exceptional and sometimes striving to be exceptional can give people like me a lot of anxiety 😀
I mean, I like a buffet. I would like to try out all the flavours of life out there. I tried to be exceptional and it has given me acidity and anxiety in return. I don’t have ten thousand hours to become an expert on one thing, because I don’t just want to do one thing! What if I don’t want to be a Master of something and just want to remain a Jack of all trades? What is wrong with that? I want to be the employee who might not be the topper but will always turn up and be loyal and helpful to her colleagues. I want to be the runner who doesn’t get the podium, but gets to come last in multiple races and make new friends. I want to be the writer who isn’t critically acclaimed or a master bestseller, but someone whose books or articles make others smile or nod in agreement. I want to be a dancer who doesn’t perform on the stage, but who dances nevertheless. I want to be a businesswoman who doesn’t need to give TED talks but has managed to open her bookshop – cafe where she earns money for her keep, and friendships for her soul. I want to be the drummer/pianist who is not in a bestselling band, but one who can perform for her daughter or close friends or just herself when she is a tad tipsy 😀 I want to be be many different people and I don’t have ten thousand hours for each of the people I want to be. I don’t want to be exceptional. I want to be average and I want to try out everything life has to offer. Shouldn’t that be a new mantra? So how do I go about doing this in a capitalist world full of expectations? Any ideas?