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Shooting For The Middle

Simply put, I’m tired of trying to be the best. I’m tired of feeling pressured to be the smartest, the thinnest, the happiest, or the best of anything else. Of course, there is nothing wrong with striving to do your personal best, and I believe that everyone should do so, but it is the constant conflict against others that I’m frustrated with. Our society perpetuates a constant struggle between ourselves and our peers. Everything is rated and compared. From bar photographers taking pictures of people having fun to professors announcing the top grades and class averages, everyone is constantly encouraged to try and one up each other. Who got the most likes on a picture? Who had the most fun in University? Who is dating whom? Well, I have a better question; who cares?

It has taken me a long time to come to the conclusion that being just average is okay. By the very definition of the word, being average is typical, its common- most of us are average. I have specific tasks I excel at (see: essay writing and coffee consuming) but I am never going to be the best at everything. Hell, I’d be surprised if I’m even the best at one thing. More importantly, that is okay. I’ve found that I’m happiest when I just accept my abilities, and the good things I have in my life. I try to calm down and just celebrate the average parts of any day that make me happy. I did better on that exam than I thought, excellent! My summer job pays slightly more than minimum wage, outstanding! It is an important, and healthy, part of everyday life to relax and enjoy what you DO have, to be present in your own life.

It doesn’t help that university is a breeding ground for competition. You worked hard to get accepted, to get scholarships, to stay in your program, and ever since it has been one battle after another. As an Arts and Sociology double major, I am well aware of the judgment within our school that exists between differing faculties. Everyone argues about who has the most to do, whose program is the hardest, who will get the best job, and who has a useless degree. No one is happy with what we have because we live in a society that constantly pushes us to desire more, often by stepping on the toes of others to get ahead

I’m sure you have all seen the new “Be Extraordinary” promotional posters Western has plastered to the otherwise beautiful buildings. Each poster features an ‘extraordinary’ alumni, along with their program, year they graduated, and the current position they hold. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to celebrate people that have become successful, hell I would be pumped if I ever got there! Yet it seems wrong to celebrate only a few while largely ignoring the many. It is this mindset that leaves many feeling left behind and like they just don’t measure up. You may not be considered extraordinary, but what you have achieved matters! As long as it is your best and you are happy with your accomplishments, nothing else matters.

I’m not saying it is going to be easy, but I have been trying to focus less on other people and more on myself. I’m ordinary, and that’s enough for me.

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