Here’s a severely exasperating trend I’ve noticed lately- this deeply entrenched ‘fear of being average.’ Young men and women shuddering at the thought of ending up as anything that is not ‘excellent’ or ‘prodigy-like.’ They’re often seen carrying a gigantic mass of invisible pressure dictated by the more often than not ‘successful elders & cousins’ of their family.
They’re made to measure the success rate of life with numbers.
Percentage. Weight. Stipend. Marks. Net worth. Likes. Comments. Shares. Clicks.
Here’s a food for thought-
Since when did we start declaring anything average as ‘not good enough?’
Since when did we start demanding perfection from every sphere of life?
Why are we so scared of everything ordinary? Why is ‘normal’ not coveted anymore?
As a generation, we’ve been fed such abnormal standards of excellence that everywhere I go, every person I meet is busy staggering and toiling to meet them. We’re all more afraid of ending up not glitzy enough or not ‘Zuckerberg-ish’ enough that we forget to be kind to ourselves in the process.
So what if you are not the sparkling diamond everyone expects you to be? You don’t need to be ‘the best’ to validate your existence. You can tread through life as smoothly and as peacefully as you find yourself capable of.
There is nothing wrong with being ordinary. Just like there’s nothing wrong with being extra ordinary. Be at peace with who and where you are and continue working diligently towards whatever goals you’ve set for yourself, without sacrificing your complicity in the process.
Don’t hurt yourself, physically or mentally in the course of winning this race. Success, you must know, is a state of mind. If you feel happy and content with where you are in life, relish it. Your mind will tell you that you’re ‘settling’ only if you feel that there’s still something that needs to be done. Take a deep breath-and do it.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. There is a life that needs to be lived amongst all the degrees and positions and recognition. There are moments that need to be remembered between the board meetings and urgent calls. Lastly, there is a youth that needs to be cherished between all the semesters and presentations.
I just realized I didn’t exactly propose a toast in the proper way. People, raise your imaginary glasses for the misfits, the ones treading the easier road, the ones who gaze silently from the sidelines and the ones snuggled in their blankets watching Netflix. This is for you.
Note: I will introduce you to the man who has my heart for a very long time. All I really do is listen to him all day, every day. Breaks my heart to think that talented artists like him go so painfully unnoticed. The man is Ray Lamontagne, ladies and gentleman. I’ve been listening to him for over a year but refrained from sharing his work out of my habit of being too possessive of everything I love.
But I feel he deserves to be known. Here is my favorite song ‘Empty’ by him. Personally I regard this to be his magnum opus due to the excessively powerful poetry he wrote here. I can’t help but wonder what induced him into writing such a song.
‘Outside the rain is tapping on the leaves
To me it sounds like they’re applauding us,
The quiet love we’ve made.’
If this doesn’t crack open buried emotions and make you ‘feel’ a certain way, I don’t know what will.
Extra tip- Put your headphones on and just .. listen. Carefully.