Friday, June 1, 2012

Dabbling in Mediocrity

What does it mean to be the best?   I've had this conversation with so many people that it's a little mind numbing.   I am a perfectionist.   You wouldn't necessarily know this about me when you walk into my life.   My house isn't immaculate,  I have piles of stuff to go through, and my bed isn't always made.   When it comes to my personal goals and desires though....the bar is pretty high.  I often set expectations for myself that I would never hold anyone else to.

I used to believe that being the best meant being in front and leading the pack.   If I was finding myself anywhere behind that point...I felt that I had failed.  When I was running, I was always pushing to try to better my time and move closer to the front of the pack, even though my body wasn't built for what I was putting it through.   When I was watching what I ate....I gave up everything that was "bad" and only had safe and nutritious foods in my pantry.  I would eat only organic.   I would grow my own food.   Be the best.   You can do it.   When I was being the best exerciser, I was at the gym 5 days a week, whether I wanted to, whether I had other things to do, and if I didn't make it...I would beat myself up for my perceived failure to do my "best."   Being the "best" became what was important....not making positive and healthy changes to my life.   Not finding balance and living a complete life.   I was choosing to focus on minute parts of my life that I thought were important and ended up missing out on a lot of things that really mattered more.

We live in a world where everyone is trying to be better than the next person.   Being the better athlete, parent, eater, wife, friend, employee....the list goes on and on.  I even had a conversation with a great gal pal about being vegetarian, and how she feels so often that she is judged by other vegetarians because "I'm completely lacto-ovo-blah-blah-blah."    Like somehow that not eating eggs puts them in a class above her.  It's really silly when you stop and think about it.  Like the next step to be the best then becomes not eating meat, eggs, dairy, plants, or anything that might have once been eaten, and only drinking predigested protein from space.  It's CRAZY!   Who makes the mold for what is "BEST" and who is to say that mold will work for me?

So, I have been spending the past month or so, trying to live in the middle.  Yes folks....I have been striving for MEDIOCRITY!     And guess what.....I am REALLY happy!  I've had all these people in my life (and you will know who you are when you read this) who have spent a great deal of time and energy trying to get me to see that moderation is good.   After many years of avoiding this concept, I decided I had nothing to lose, and stepped into the abyss.   And guess what....it feels really good.

I wish I could bring you all along for this ride.   Now...let's be realistic.   I still have goals.   I still have desires.   I still want to be REALLY GOOD at things.....and honestly.....I have to remind myself regularly that the "BEST" isn't really best.   But oh my goodness....when I made a potato for lunch yesterday (yes...a starchy vegetable that I haven't eaten forever because diets say you can't have it if you want to lose weight) it was AWESOME!   I am trying to allow myself those things that I want from time to time, even though they don't fit on the list of perfectionism.

Oh, and guess what....living in the middle also means that you can eat on days when you don't exercise, just as if you did.   Exercise in this magical middle world, doesn't earn you food.   It's just something you do because you like it, and it makes you feel better.  It means you can leave the laundry in the basket for a day until you have time to get to it instead of staying up until midnight to fold it all, and it means you can sit down to read or watch a tv show when there is a little dust on the coffee table.   It is a place where a little relaxation is just as valuable as being the best.   Hmmm........

It's okay to strive for greatness.   It's impressive to win.   And I get that I can't completely throw caution to the wind.  But sometimes....being in the middle is where you need to be.   I am great at a lot of things, but I can't be the best at it all.   So as I slow my pace , and take a look at things from the middle of the race, I am seeing that I am a lot more relaxed.....and a lot more inspired to keep going.  I feel like it has leveled the playing field for me a little.   The pressure has lifted a little, and at least for now....I'm feeling content.