Mediocrity and Acceptance

I’ve come to accept that I’m not going to grow back the hair on my head. Hair that’s been away on a several year vacation. I’m never going to be six feet-two inches tall – that’s become okay in my mind. Yet, there are a few other areas in which I still have a bit of a way to go.

In a recent discussion with writing friends, I was lamenting my desire to be a better writer. I spoke of those “Wow” moments that often come to me when I read Joseph Conrad or Barry Lopez. I’m sure you all know what I mean; those sentences that hold such beauty and perfection that they stop you in your tracks. Those same wow moments that never come when I’m rereading my own writing.

My wonderful friends that heard my pitiful entreaty, gave back words of understanding, encouragement and kindness. “Don’t judge yourself against others.” or to paraphrase, “Be patient.” Good and wise words from good and wise people.

Later that evening I came upon something by happenstance that seemed to speak to the issue from earlier in the day. The author Will Schwalbe had this to say about mediocrity. “Mediocrity isn’t crass or shoddy or vulgar, It’s, well, mediocre. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s not bad.” He went on to say, “When you embrace mediocrity, you embrace humility – you learn to see that no matter how good you are at something, the world probably has people who are more talented at it than you. You can strive to learn from people who do things better, or at least appreciate them. By definition, most of us are mediocre, and everyone is mediocre at something.”

So where does that leave me and all those others out there that desire and strive to be just a bit above the rest of the herd?

I became a drummer (I’ve often said I’m not a musician, I’m a drummer) when I was about fifteen. I’ve played in many bands since those teen years and it’s always been fun. Even as a mediocre drummer, it was fun.

I played tennis for thirty years. In my best days I was a mid-pack 4.0 player. I won some tournaments and I lost in many. In hindsight, my tennis days were fun. Even as a mediocre tennis player, they were fun.

Do I ever wish I played drums like Steve Gadd or Joe Morello, of course. Do I wish that just once, I’d hit one topspin backhand like Roger Federer does on a daily basis? Absolutely.

Now I write; not like John Steinbeck, Barbara Kingsolver or Tolstoy. I write at the level I’m at right now. I will always attempt to get better. I will try to one day write a WOW sentence. When I do, I will stop and try to appreciate it. I will then buckle down and try and write another one.

Until that day happens, I will also try and accept that my mediocracy is not a curse. It’s a place where I currently sit until I’m able to rise up to a higher stool.

Until the, I plan to enjoy the view. Go well, David

Perspective

Yesterday while taking a hike in Catalina State Park, I came upon a sign that gave me pause. I read that the Santa Catalina Mountains began their formation somewhere between 1.4 billion and 20 million years ago.

When I try to comprehend the amount of time either of those numbers represent, it boggles my mind. I think many of us consider time in increments of minutes, days, weeks and years. We probably all also consider time in its relationship to our own age. In my case, that’s seventy years.

When I was a boy, and even into my years as a young man, I considered myself bullet proof. Today, I’m not so resilient. I have a few more nagging aches, worries and doubts.

I’m sure like most of us, I once thought (perhaps I thought I knew) that I was the center of the universe. As I looked at mountains that came millions, if not billions of years before me, I have some proof that maybe I wasn’t of the magnitude of importance that I thought I was.

So now what?

What do we do with the time we’ve been given? How do we spend this resource that is called our lifetime? For me I’ve wasted a large portion of it. That statement is not intended to be some off handed criticism, it’s simply the truth.

I’ve not loved enough, I’ve not shared enough, I’ve not learned enough. Lately I have been giving more consideration to what and how I want to be in the future. Maybe that’s a by-product of getting older. I have long said that just before I die, I want to know that I gave back more to life than I took. So that’s my goal. It’s not a New Years resolution or a passing idea, it’s something of a late in life quest.

What about you? What quest, what journey do you have in front of you?

I end this post today with a quote that I’ve often repeated. It’s from Pierre Teilhard De Chardin.  – “We have only to do what any one of us is capable of – become conscious of our living solidarity with one great Thing, and then do the smallest thing in a great way. We must add one stitch, no matter how small it be, to the magnificent tapestry of life…”

Go well, David  

Launch -Desert-Writer blog

This is my first post for a new blog. My intent for these postings will be to share my meandering thoughts about life. I’m aware that I have more of my life behind me than what remains in front of me. Being this age and having that piece of information changes the way I view each day.

I’ve come to believe that I as well as the rest of the people on this planet have certain responsibilities to those living today and those that will come in the future. I will be posting my thoughts regarding some of these issues.

I’m not a preacher and I certainly have no desire to preach. I will attempt to write as honestly as I can. I want to speak about the goodness of the human spirit, but I will not shy away from the short-comings that we all have.

I hope that anyone who reads my posts will interact with me and offer their opinions and thoughts. The sharing of our deepest beliefs adds to our lives and I look forward to that sharing.

Go well, David