Nothing Wrong with Average
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to be special. I don’t think that this is unusual in any way. Every girl dresses up as a princess and every boy imagines the feeling of hitting the home run in the bottom of the ninth to seal the win. Most people at some point in their lives want to be a famous singer, a movie star, a top athlete, or just someone who is remembered. For years I looked at myself and tried to figure out what about me was unique. I can’t sing well, I definitely cannot act, there is not a special athletic trait in me. Just what about me is memorable?
After years of comparing myself to others, I have come to believe that I am not special. This was a harsh reality for me. Growing up, my best friend was beautiful, not just pretty but really beautiful; she attracted attention from boys and never was without a boyfriend. I was the wallflower who tagged along and couldn’t get a boy to even notice me. My other friends were honor students and star athletes. I was just average; I didn’t excel at anything. It’s hard to be an average teenager.
I teach teenagers now and it’s just as difficult for them to be average, not only socially but academically. Most of my students want an A, but I sometimes have to remind them that a C is average and normal. Not everyone can be an A because then it would not be special.
I have learned to cope with being average. I am average height, average weight, average clothing and shoe size. I live an average life with a typical job and family, though I consider them wonderful and well above average. Looking at my life, no one would ever say, “I want to be her,” but he/she would not ever say, “I wouldn’t want to be her” either. In fact, most people would not even take note of me.
It’s not as difficult to be an average adult as it was to be an average teenager. I’ve had years to think about what it really means. It means that I’m a nice person who may not be beautiful but isn’t ugly, who can work and support her family, who believes in God and people. Being average means that I will live for some time yet and get to watch my children grow up. I will have an impact on people more than I will realize, because most average people do.
So all in all, there’s nothing wrong with being average; most people are. In fact, average can be memorable.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.