I have been wondering lately about how my life would look on paper or in film. If there was a biography of my life, would anyone read it or watch it? I have excelled at nothing in my life. There is no special or unique thing I have achieved, nothing I am known for and my life is devoid of the accomplishments one might receive medals, trophies or even public accolades for. It’s not that I think I’m a failure; I just don’t live or have an extraordinary life.
Honestly, I have never felt the need to strive for great things. My goals in life, once, revolved around being a professional artist, making enough money to survive and maybe getting in shape. I wanted a husband, a home, a dog and some friends.
Other than the artist career, I’ve pretty much achieved what I set out to do to one degree or another. I have a successful marriage (right honey?) going on 12 years together, a nice home (sure we rent, but by choice and I’m good with that) a great dog, a good job with a decent salary and a circle of good friends I wouldn’t trade for anything. I even lost weight and have managed to keep it off for several years, for the most part, although my gym attendance leaves little evidence of any improvement to my shape.
Yes, I have had several personal successes I’m proud of, but nothing anyone is going to “ooh” and “aah” over.
But with today’s media antics, “journalists” and “reporters” can (or try to) put a spin on the most mundane things to make it newsworthy. From minor exaggerations to full blown lies, we are bombarded with fantastic stories about very non-fantastic people places and things. And it seems to have seeped into the social conscious of our nation. People believe they are amazing, special and unique in ways that they so clearly are not. You have but to watch one episode of American Idol auditions, for example, to realize people think they are more talented then they are, and nobody telling them differently is going to change their mind. So I have to wonder: when did those who desired greatness stop trying to achieve it and just find away to make it LOOK like they are great?
Have we gone to such great lengths to make everyone feel needed and loved and equal (a good thing, for sure, in theory) that we have gone to the other extreme and now everyone thinks they truly are extraordinary and special and talented?
Or, as Bud would say (the son from “The Incredibles” movie) “Isn’t saying everyone is special just another way of saying no one is special?”
Is everyone who puts a pencil to paper an artist? Is everyone who snaps a picture with a camera a photographer? Is anyone who belts out a karaoke tune a singer? Does it take one low budget film or You Tube video to make you a movie star? Does writing a blog make us all “authentic” authors and writers?
Do we even care? Is it enough that we enjoy who we are and what we do, whether other people value or recognize it or better yet, pay us for it? Is there anything wrong with not striving to be recognized for anything or being the best at something? Can we just be adequate and content in our daily lives without trying to achieve anything even remotely recognized by others?
I ask, because I sometimes feel inadequate compared to my husband, many of my friends, co-workers and social peers. My life is the stuff yawns are made of. I never finished college. I have a very mundane, generic career. I don’t own a home. My car is economical. I am not rich, beautiful, built or famous. I have seen very little of this country, let alone of the world. I am not an expert or even well-skilled in anything. I can’t fix a car, build a shelf, cultivate a garden, cook well or sew and my computer skills are abysmal at best. I am not very knowledgeable in politics, history, science or geography and we all know where I stand on religion. When I die, I doubt I’ll be remembered by more than a handful of people, some sad to lose my companionship and probably some glad to see me go. My mark on the world is nil and I will be just a passing bag of skin, blood and breath in the history of mankind and the world. So when I look at the successes, wealth of talent and special qualities of the people around me, the things they know and can do, the money they have and the homes and items they own, the skills or good looks they’ve been blessed with, I do feel a twinge of regret for not striving to be more, do more, know more. I wonder if I took the easy road and settled for adequate instead of amazing.
But then the influence of socialized artificial enhancement creeps into my brain and I wonder: maybe that is what I excel at…being mundane. Maybe I have become the master of the ordinary, an artist with the unparalleled skill to create THE most un-extraordinary life ever; or at least someone with the ability to have the best time being a nobody. And, maybe, if I’m out there laughing and whooping it up as the star of my own life with nary a care of how very un-impressive I am or my life has turned out to be, I can be an example to all the other under-achievers or less amazing people of the world.
Or maybe I’m just fooling myself into being content with my complacency.
If I had to write a blurb for the jacket cover of a book about my life, what would I write?
“Sean is an average guy who lived his life the way he thought he should, for better or worse. He will probably not impress you, inspire you or surprise you; but he just might make you feel a little bit better knowing you’re not the only one who found a comfortable place in life somewhere between the gutters and the stars.”
Not impressive, for sure, but I can live with that; even if, sometimes, just for a little bit, I wish I was more than I am.
What would your blurb say?