The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Battle with Mediocrity

I used to be the girl who never settled for less; I went to seminars and classes that encouraged and empowered young women; I even led a few classes here and there. I knew that my goals were attainable; that I should dream as big as I want and not date anyone who didn't treat me like I deserved.

Somewhere along the way, I've gotten lost. You see, after you accept mediocrity one time, it begins to gradually morph into your normal. Your former confidence and fiery spirit begin to be broken down and suddenly average doesn't sound so bad.

Situations you never would have found yourself in become familiar atmospheres, career goals begin to be overshadowed by a constant state of inferiority, and relationships you wouldn't have touched with a 10-foot pole become your love life as you know it.

This is usually the part of the blog where I encourage you to do something great; I give you advice from my experiences. Although I long to one day be at the point where I can spout advice, I am not there yet. I look in the mirror every day and continually battle the feeling that I am not good enough; that I am not worthy of my dream career or the man I deserve. I go out on dates because they're...well, dates...I get in slumps of self-pity where filling out a job application is physically painful.

I can, through all of this, give preventative advice. The day that you make the decision to take the easy path; the path that seems like a result of bad luck and hard knocks, you are selling yourself short. It may be an easy road to travel, but it is very difficult to veer away from once you are traveling toward its dead end.

You will reach road block after road block and you will look into the distance and see the road that you were once on; a road that was really taking you somewhere great. A road with a fast Interstate, numerous lanes and bustling activity. You are looking for the nearest exit to get you back there.

I am in the current exit-seeking phase. I know that it is hard to instill faith in yourself and the hope of something greater when you feel like all is lost sometimes. You feel like you traveled down the right path for so long and it seemed to get you nowhere; so you took an alternative route.

What I have found about the alternative route is that it is nothing but an optical illusion. It appears that it is a great route for the meantime and that you can get back to your self-assured, optimistic ways after your short "time out" from living your dreams. In reality, it becomes your way of life so long that you vaguely remember the person you used to be; with high hopes and very little fear.

I came to a fork in the road, and I chose the other one because I was exhausted from always doing things the conventional way; the right way; the perfect way. Now, I sell myself short a lot of times and accept treatment that is beneath me. I make excuses for why I let these things happen and always end with, "Well, one day, I will..."

The sad truth of this statement is that "one day" never comes if you don't take hold of your life today. Worst case scenario is that "one day" never happens, but you sit in your rocking chair years from now saying, "I should've..." When "should've" replaces your "one day," you have let mediocrity won.

I've heard it often said that only the mediocre are always at their best; I have lived by this because I was afraid of failure; I was afraid of rejection. As long as I was living below what I was capable, I wasn't taking the chance of being hurt. But what I have found is that mediocrity is even more painful. It is this low bar that is constantly pushing you down when you are yearning for more.

I know this isn't the usual light-hearted prose that you are used to, but I am a young woman of many facets and there are days that I struggle; and putting my vulnerability out there for everyone to see isn't easy, but it is the first step in rising above the issue about which I write.

Be my guiding lights. My lamp posts leading me toward the exit sign. And one day my "one day" will be a recollection of the full life I fulfilled-- one goal at a time.


Blogger dlambert said...

Oh Ashton, we alll struggle with mediocrity, but you, my dear are anything but medi-'okra'. (just fry that in bacon grease & corn meal). : )

July 7, 2010 at 6:01 AM  
Blogger Kelsey said...

What a most excellent entry that we can all relate to. Being aware of our lukewarm approach to life and being able to openly admit it is the first step towards progression. What you have said about mediocrity is very true, but never forget that you control what is to come. Your future is very bright, trust me.

Coaches have always said, "Do right and good things will happen." This was never true for my sports career, but it certainly is for life. Stay true to who you are and do not mistake your openness towards relationships as vulnerability because you have proven what an upstanding, independent woman you are.

July 11, 2010 at 3:56 AM  

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