I’m finding out I’m not as mediocre as I used to be. I mean, I used to be really good and mediocre. Take this certification I’m studying for. I used to be able to do the bare minimum, pass with a mediocre grade and be perfectly satisfied with that effort and outcome. I took a practice test with those principles of mediocrity firmly in hand and did not do as well as in previous efforts. Mediocrity used to be sustainable with a level of effort that was efficiently proportional to my natural ability. Something has occurred though that inhibits me from being both effortlessly mediocre and content with the spoils of mediocrity. Mediocrity comes more hesitantly in proportion to my effort these days and since I do not desire to be substandard, unless I make the conscious decision to be so, I have to adjust for this cognitive dissonance.
If mediocrity is not a God given, base line result of minimum effort, where is the redeeming sense of, I could do better if I put forth a marginal amount of effort? If I have to work to be mediocre then mediocrity loses it’s sense of rebelliousness. Interestingly, excellence and effort have become more desirable as my natural mediocrity atrophies with age. It’s like the word that has scalded me for three and a half decades is suddenly soothing and cajoling, a Siren beckoning me to her rocky shore where jagged rocks and rip tides threaten my casual and effortless treading of water. It’s the “P” word… potential. I’ve caught myself thinking recently during intense bouts of exercise or inadvertent effort, what if I took this potential for a spin? What would happen if I really tried?
I’ve bathed in the tepid water of mediocrity most of my life while people with life rafts swam to save me, only to curse me as I reveled in my ability to barely stay afloat with minimal effort. The sirens then, may not have been Potential lulling me from my comfortable malaise after all. My son, all I want for him and all I want to be for him, opened my eyes and revealed the razor sharp teeth, pallid skin and hollow eyes of the Sirens that sung me to sleep on an island called Mediocrity.