My mother always said I was special, but unlike most who grow up and realize this admiration was ill placed, I carried on believing it deep down even though the world continues to disappoint my delusions.
I am a GenXer and not from the generation that got a trophy for 5th place. I was proud to come in 18th in the districts swim meet because it was my best time and I worked my ass off. No trophy needed. And my mother is not guilty of anything more than trying to inspire me — telling me I could be and do anything if I put my mind and back into it.
That leaves me, however, now at age 42, wondering if perhaps I have not done more with my life because I have not wanted things enough or put enough “back” into it all. I honestly can never ascertain if I am a lazy, entitled idealist or a hardworking, average failure. I am certain that I am somewhat hard on myself and often lose perspective on what is important. Then again, perhaps it is my gratitude and contentment with simple things, things as they are, that have derailed big dreams.
Certainly Donald Trump and Tony Robbins would want no part of my sweet little Midwestern life, but the Dalai Lama might smile and say I’ve been blessed. Well maybe me asking these absent men their opinions is a huge part of the problem.
I do waffle between embracing my own insignificance and my Mom-inspired special-ness. Can I be both? And what does life look like when you ARE both? Special significant people do amazing things for themselves and others. That doesn’t sound like the person typing this at her dining room table.
All I know if that my average-ness has not snuck up on me. I did not awake here in middle age suddenly surprised that my life is a hill of beans. I’ve been counting up beans and planting them this whole time and honestly thinking a giant stalk would grow. But I sit instead sinking in my bean hill and wondering how to measure my worth against my insignificance.
You don’t have to tell me. Honest. I know my worth is about how I’ve served others. I know my “gifts” are the insignificance. But still, I’m wishing my mother was right and my beans will sprout, so I can climb to the sky.