I am freshly birthday’d up and facing – statistically – 40 more years of something.
What? I don’t know yet.
Do you know your next day? Year? Meal?
The passing season taught of how my best efforts and hard work and greatest wisdom will not guarantee the life I sought or even one day more of life as it is.
Now is it. The next moment is a black box of uncertainty; the next year is a universe of uncertainty. It is in our best interest to live these moments well.
Graduate degree or Amtrak adventure with StoryCorps (I have to convince them first)? Non-profit service or a ski-bunny life in Colorado? Hike the Appalachian Trail and the Grand Canyon or plunge into a start-up venture tackling barriers to literacy and community development?
Work all day and into the night to get more stuff and applause?
Whatever it is, it must matter to me.
For over 40 years, I worked hard for approval. Like you, I gave 150% and sought the means to take care of myself and my family and to be good enough.
I will never be good enough for some.
Neither will you.
But will we be good enough for ourselves? Will our stories read well?
You see, it’s on us to set an alternative ending from the miasma of mediocrity.
Don’t confuse “mediocrity” with “ordinary.” Mediocrity settles. Ordinary sets the standard.
Raise the standard.
I have my standards.
Your ordinary/standard day may be swishing down the Zambezi river bringing hope and tools for fresh water to a thirsty people while your friend’s ordinary is excelling in business and being on time for dinner with the fam.
My ordinary is work, explore, people, wonder, repeat.
Unless the inertia of the everyday ordinary life is overcome, there will be no alternate ending. No good narrative.
It’s on me.
It’s on you.
Study, learn, practice, and set sail. Navigate our alternate endings and away from a trudge towards our expiration.
Plenty of folks have gone before us. Many notable extra-ordinary lives appeared ordinary until later in life. Check out Vera Wang, Harland (Colonel) Sanders, Samuel Jackson, Julia Child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Cervantes, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Nola Ochs who earned her degree from Fort Hays State (Kansas) at 96 years young.
Who are the folks in your life climbing the grand canyon, embarking on a new business, or setting sail to discover the new-to-them?
Time to unleash our Everyday DerringDo and find that alternate ending where most days are good and we make the world a wee bit better.