Coming to terms with mediocrity

When I look up “accepting mediocrity” I get a whole host of videos and articles about how we shouldn’t accept mediocrity. Society wants us to be strivers after that carrot on the stick hanging down in front of us because frankly that’s what keeps the economy going. From a personal mental health point of view though I think the very best thing anyone, and I mean anyone, can do is accept their own mediocrity. Even people that you or I would deem far from mediocre would be better off because ultimately, there is always someone better than you, if not living, then somewhere in history, and if you are always comparing yourself to some idealised vision of who you think you ought to be, if you’re always visualising your “perfect self, right now” you are never going to come to terms with the basic reality that you are human. You are limited. You are weak and fragile. You are vulnerable. You are small.

Those things will always be true, no amount of ambition will allow us to run away from death, from weakness, from faliure, from humiliation, from vulnerability. It will catch up with us, find us, and eventually drag us down to hades.

Every choice you have ever made, and every choice you will ever make will close off a thousand paths, beautiful and wonderful paths that would have been a delight to explore. There will always be more you don’t know than you do. There will always be peaks higher than you can climb. There will always be the spectre of death, and too little time. There will always be shame and pain, and the shame and the pain will be but a reflection of greater shame and pain that was not directly experienced.

There are many billions of other people, just like you, weak, beautiful humans, struggling to get by. And the big lie, the big myth is that because your struggle is not harder than theirs, because your intellect is not greater, because your dreams and your accomplishments do not stand out in any way, that your (and their) struggle, pain, joy, accomplishments, dreams, intellect is somehow diminished by the noise of the seething mass of which it forms a tiny part. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You and I are drops in a tumultuous ocean, and we have no power over the currents or where they take us, and as terrible as this is, it is also liberating and beautiful. We can fight for a measure of control, lie to ourselves and insist that we can make a difference, that we can swim against the tide, as if the motion of a single droplet was a microcosm not a micro-climate.

You are nothing. I am nothing. We are everything (which is nothing much). We find ourselves in connection, but even that is just a diversion, a refreshing breeze in the terrifying awareness of insignificance.

Its ok. It will be ok.