I didn’t mean to get super personal, but I couldn’t help it.
“What’s your biggest fear in life?”
I hadn’t prepped for this one. I had four pages of a Google Doc typed out, with every possible question I could attempt to predict.
Tell me about yourself.
Why should we choose you?
What’s the biggest challenge you have faced and how did you deal with it?
What skills have you learned that have helped you develop both personally and professionally?
Why do you want to work for us?
What would you say your weaknesses are?
The list continued. I had thorough responses typed and saved as I watched the cursor blink and continue to ask each question I had already answered.
“What is your biggest fear in life?”
I paused, I’m sorry, that question sort of took me off guard.
She laughed. I laughed (nervously). “It’s a loaded question,” she acknowledged, “take your time.”
I was quiet for several seconds. Breaking the silence with an “um” followed by further silence.
Mediocrity. I replied.
She paused. “Can you repeat that? Did you say mediocrity? What do you mean by that?”
Have you ever felt like you’re not living up to the expectations you set for yourself? Like, you know you’re capable of great things, but do you ever wonder if you’ll get to that point? I know where I can be someday, but what if I never get there?
I swallowed hard and continued…
I fear being mediocre. Being less than what I know I am.
As a young twenty something with an uncertain future ahead, I fear mediocrity all of the time. I fear always being two steps behind of where I want to be. Always reaching, but never grabbing. Striving, but not thriving.
I have done some great things in my young life, as have you. But, I can’t help but wonder what else is out there for me. I can’t help but wonder if I’m taking the wrong steps, dating the wrong people, living in the wrong place.
Or worse, being the wrong person.
I can’t help fearing if I’ll ever make it to where I want to be. Career-wise, dating-wise, life-wise.
Success is often measured by the number on your paycheck, but to me, I find myself worrying less about that and more about non-financial fulfillments. I worry about the people I surround myself with, the late night thoughts that flood my brain, the guys I unexpectedly develop feelings for. I worry about never being completely satisfied. But, are we meant to be completely at peace with everything at once? Are we meant to experience ultimate nirvana? Is it possible to be living in your own form of utopia?
“Life is perpetually creative because it contains in itself that surplus which ever overflows the boundaries of the immediate time and space, restlessly pursuing its adventure of expression in the varied forms of self–realisation.”
Life is creative. It’s unexpected. Daunting, confusing, and beautiful all at once.
Am I just existing?
High school preps you for college (sort of). College preps you for the real world (not really). But once you’re in the real word, what’s next? It’s like suddenly you’re in an abyss of “Am I doing this right?”s with no one to fall back on but yourself.
As I sit on the patio of my favorite coffee shop, my mind is moving in a thousand different directions. To my left lies my phone pinging with work emails. To my right is the overpriced coffee I definitely didn’t need. There are job engine tabs open on my Google Chrome browser, packed full with opportunities that don’t seem to mesh well with me.
I know I’m not supposed to be picky. I know that not all dream opportunities are at the end of a straight and narrow path. Is it normal to wonder if I’ll ever get there?
I draw inspiration from random happenings. My stories are always crafted after the fact; after some deliberation, caffeine, and an inspiring Spotify playlist. Is this what life is supposed to be like? I may not know the significance of a random job or a confusing guy in the moment, but I can only hope it’s part of the windy path that will get me to where I need to be.
Rather, where I want to be.
Tomorrow is my 24th birthday. There is no Taylor Swift nor Blink 182 track to caption my Instagram picture with. *Sigh*. There’s also no guide titled, “Where you should be in life be when you turn 24.” Damnit.
Some friends are in long term relationships, others are still experiencing the stress that is dating different people, like myself. Some have 401ks and pensions, others stuff their closets with cash tips after a long night of bartending. Some are up late studying for grad school exams, others are up late hooking up with a random guy.
Some are content, others want more.
However, I think we all ask ourselves, “What is my forever?” We wonder what jobs we’ll keep, what people are worth investing in, and whether or not that plane ticket is worth splurging on. Most of us have no ties grounding us to one set plan or place, so I suppose my fear of mediocrity is normal and somewhat validated.
Life is a strange mix of people, places, and unexpected outcomes. I’ve never been one to plan, but I find comfort in knowing what’s next. But, yet, I’ve found that the best things always come without warning. I’ve found that the right people and opportunities come at the right times, even if it feels wrong in the moment.
We have the power to shape a beautiful life in the same way we have the power to shape a mediocre one. Not every career decision will be monumental, not every relationship will sweep you off your feet. I guess we have to experience the mediocre to experience the groundbreaking.
Ten years from now, I hope I’m working a job I love, coming home to a guy (or dog, most likely) I love even more. I hope to wonder why I ever worried. Why I ever doubted my abilities. Why I asked myself if I’ll ever make it.
I suppose fearing mediocrity is better than accepting mediocrity as a constant. Right?
So, for now, I guess I can be content with my half broken dresser and sub-par chicken piccata. I can be content with a mediocre situationship, content with feeling under qualified for every job posting I seemed to be interested in. Not every area of my life can be awesome at all times, but I guess that’s what makes me crave more awesomeness.
I’m not sure if this is where I’m supposed to be at age 24, but do we ever really know? Not sure. I guess we all experience life at a different pace. Interning while some are career-ing (poetic license???). Hooking up while some are proposing. Feeling uncertain while some are at ease.
I don’t know where I’m supposed to be or who I’m supposed to be with. I don’t know if my answer to the interviewees question helped me land a job or kicked me off the list entirely. I know less about life than I’d like, but then again, I’m only 24.
It’s unnerving, but if you feel the same way I do, thank GOD because that means I’m not the only one. Phew!
Hold onto the confidence you have in your abilities, because in my experience, it’s the confidence that has led me to the awesome life I’ve lived thus far. Even if sometimes it doesn’t feel so awesome.
Crave awesomeness over mediocrity. Crave awesome people, awesome places. You’ll encounter countless mediocre things in the process, but we need the mediocre things to experience the awesome things. You know, the groundbreaking, “this shit is LIT” kinds of things. Strive for the awesome life, but accept that it’s not going to come out of every decision, relationship, or job you encounter. It’s the mediocre that builds the foundation for something killer.
We’ll get there. Eventually.
In the meantime, you can find me attempting to fix my half broken dresser and perfecting my chicken piccata dish while laughing hysterically over this video with my roommate. The little things, you know.
“I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here. I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell.” – Richard Feynman