We are living in crazy times here in the US, many of our fellow country men and women are struggling to survive to the point where just keeping food on the table is a struggle. Yet at the same time many of us are still playing our role as the ultimate consumers. Fancy meals, coffee drinks (yeah, I am guilty of this one), standing in line to get the newest and latest iGadget, all the outward signs of success. I often wonder how many of us can really afford these things? Make no mistake, I know not everyone is struggling but most of us are living in denial. If we lost our jobs and didn’t find one in six months or so our world would collapse.
Yet despite the grim statistics that in this new America a permanent underclass is being created where a good 10% of us at any given time will be jobless and many more are underemployed. We still cling to the dream that we must achieve success and that well… success will include climbing the corporate ladder or maybe the non-profit ladder or owning our own business. Success is often defined by what we have rather than by who we are and frankly I think that is fucked up.
Social media allows me to stay connected enough to remind me that the second reason why I chose to move to Maine was that I wanted to get off the hamster wheel. Prior to our move to Maine and the eventual downsizing of our life, the Spousal Unit and I worked hard to the point early on we had a patch where work was fucking with our marriage. A boss who does not give a damn that your wife is sick has a funny way of creating tension in a marriage especially when your presence is requested on a Sunday just so you can sit in the office and be on call for a client. When the Spousal Unit was fired from his lovely well paid position at a Big 4 firm, it was the beginning of a turning point in our marriage that turned out to be preparation for life in Maine. Yet because we made the conscious decision that our marriage and family was more important than anything else I suspect its one of the biggest reasons that we have weathered the financial storms of life.
In many ways we have reached the point where we are okay having less, that as long as our basic needs (and I admit we are defining basic a bit broadly), are met that we are fine. In a world that says mediocrity and settling is bad we are at the place where we are ok with settling professionally and even financially when our personal life is so rich. It’s funny because the past few months have been some of the best times personally for us as the kidlet has gotten older and a bit more predictable (i.e. regular bedtime).
Last night before I drifted off to bed, I told the Spousal Unit that I was content with our life and he replied that he wished he could do more for us, like rehab this 127 year old dungeon we call a home. I won’t lie, it would be lovely to just hire contractors to fix this place but I am happy to just have a home and more importantly a home that is paid off, the rest will come in time.
To my young readers and maybe not so young readers, I guess what I am trying to say is life is too fucking short to spend your time chasing shit that won’t really make you happy. Sometimes we set goals of things we think will change our life and guess what? Those things often aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Instead happiness must come from inside, true its hard to be happy when your belly is empty and you are sleeping on a park bench but the fact is if you got a place to lay your head, food, and more importantly you have good people in your life that is the shit that matters.
I guess in some ways this may seem strange coming from someone who is holding a beg-a-thon to get a new computer after all if I had a better job I could just go out and buy the damn thing. But while that would be nice, the fact is even this blog is a labor of love that I could not do if I were tethered to some high paying gig, thus not having the chance to meet all you fabulous folks who read my ramblings. So don’t let others define who you are by what you have or don’t have, know that you are fabulous no matter what!
5 thoughts on “It’s okay to be mediocre”
Girl I am developing my handy girl skills. I have learned how to use my miter saw to cut molding for my daughters room. I’m about to learn how to work my other tools. I have no one here to do it for me. And plus it’s super cool to do it myself.
I don’t think it’s being mediocre. I think it’s being comfortable with your life and where you’re at. I live in Maine for the same reasons you do. I cannot be bothered by the bullshit that goes on on other states. I don’t want my kids growing up the same way I did. I like getting all hyped up to go pick blackberries and apples or going to the lake. Also the good thing too, half of your friends are in the same situation as you are so they understand. Their house too have pieces of the wall missing where you can see the original plaster and all that stuff. It’s great. My brother told me my town was dying and that I needed to move. To where to a bunch of mess? Naw, I’m good. The thought of moving from here gives me anxiety.
Danielle, I see you have been to my house. LOL What you described sounds exactly like my life, yeah I have friends who have fabulous houses but I also have friends who live in houses even older than my 127 year old dungeon and deal with similar house issues. Reason we got these houses cheaply is because it takes either mad skills or a lot of money to fix em up. Of course we are all original city kids with no handy skills so yep, you have interesting looking cribs.
Like you folks from back home tell me I need to move…um, move where? Back to Chicago or some other big city so I can get back on the hamster wheel. For all the complaints I have about my job, the flexibility and just freedom that comes from living here is what keeps me here. I also love that my kids have had a different upbringing then me and I love the sense of community that exists even for outsiders like us.
Thank you for this! There are times I ask myself “if I’m so smart, how come I’m not rich?” even though I know that a long time ago I chose to do things I enjoy rather than things that would make me more money. I’m fortunate that geekery pays pretty well.
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