When I was much younger, I devoured the Chicken Soup book series with ferocity. I even read the ones that in no way applied to me, such as the ones for horse-lovers’ and dog-owners’ souls. Amongst the rich pickings, I found a poem called Kids Who Are Different by Digby Wolfe. For a very long time afterwards, it was my favorite poem. I felt inspired by this poem that celebrated me in all my supposed failures.
The ugly, visceral truth is that I am not very different. I am actually completely ordinary. I am not at the top of my class, nor am I at the bottom. I have an average upbringing, average-sized family, average looks. By all accounts of my statistics, I am about as average as you can get. I will never be a rags-to-riches story. I will never be the one-in-a-million inventor of a disease cure. I can write prose and work my way through a decent tertiary education for a steady job with a healthy income. I will live my life quietly and constantly until I slip away from this earth, like a current that washes away from the beach’s edge without you ever noticing.
We are obsessed with the idea that we are special. We are told that we are special or that we are going to be by the world, by media, by inspirational poster slogans. We are not. To be special is to be something out of the ordinary. If all of my generation was ‘special’, there would be nobody left to compare with to find the ones different from the crowd. Perhaps this comes hand-in-hand with that sense of entitlement my generation is also supposed to have. While I can assure you there are those of us who understand what hard work means, I think we understand less what ordinary means.
Here’s to kids who are ordinary. Here’s to the ones that get up for their 9am to 5pm job every Monday to Friday. Here’s to the ones who wanted to do something outrageous and audacious with their lives and instead opted for stability.
Here’s to the ones who were afraid. It’s okay. I’m scared too.
We are not lesser people for not being the next Steve Jobs or Mother Theresa. As long as you can hold yourself up to the standard of a moral person with kindness and generosity, you can be proud. Be proud that you are ordinary. You don’t have the necessary failures or successes that make you special. You are ordinary. This doesn’t make you any less important.