Thursday, September 22, 2011

The crime of being ordinary

Facebook has changed it’s layout once again. Are you loving it or hating it? I haven’t fully decided how I feel about it yet, but normally I tend to just go with the flow and accept whatever changes they throw in.

As I was exploring their new ‘live updates’ sidebar widget, I stumbled across an old acquaintance's profile. I was impressed as I glanced through the details of his shiny corporate job and important-looking photos of him in a nice elegant suit at some important-looking business function.

It made me pause and reflect at where “we” are now at this stage in our lives. By “we”, I mean peers and friends of my age who are now scattered all over the globe… all pursuing different endeavours…

…Career-wise, some are already working in management and senior leadership roles, rubbing shoulders with top people in global organisations.

…Financial-wise, some already have a diverse portfolio of investments or established their own entrepreneurial businesses, living the dream of doing what they love.

…Ministry-wise, some are following their call, doing awesome deeds, changing the world and making a great impact in their community and the people in their care.

…Relationship-wise, many are already married or engaged (or almost engaged) to a significant other, with beautiful wedding photos on their Facebook mantlepiece and simply having the time of their lives with their The One.

…Family-wise, some are already wise and experienced parents with a mini-troop of kids, creating many wonderful memories together and building a lasting legacy in their quiver of little arrows.

Whatever we are doing wherever we are, I believe we are all striving toward two things. To be successful and to be happy.

Success. Happiness. What do they mean, really?

I admit I am one of those people who often try to conform to the typical perception of success and happiness.

Why do we feel we need to have and do it all?

My hunch is that we all some in-built instinct to strive upward toward something. It’s just unfortunate that the ‘something’ is usually defined by society’s perception of what it should look like.

Almost every social gathering I go to comprises of a show-and-tell of things done, things to do, things bought, things to buy, places seen, places to go.

Somehow the whole charade relates to the fact that someone else is watching us. Would I still be striving as much if I was the only person on this earth?

How I wish there was a perfect place on this earth where this whole parade would simply be seen as one big joke.

Until that place comes into being, we guard our vulnerabilities as silly as it is. For are we not charged to demonstrate how all things are possible, how we can do all things?

There are few who would truly and wholly embrace us with all our insecurities, failures or worst of all – our ordinariness.

Society is cruelly dismissive of mediocrity. it’s almost a crime these days to be just ordinary.

Can true success and happiness be really attainable in the midst of this whole giant pantomime?

Some further reading for those who want to ponder further.

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