Average is the new black.

Photo courtesy of imgquotes.

Photo courtesy of imgquotes.

I have a weakness for dog quotes/pics and Andrew Rooney’s little message made me reflect on the whole concept of average. It made me realise some sobering facts:

  1. I’m okay at some things but don’t really excel in any.
  2. I’m a pretty average blogger who probably hasn’t found her niche, if one exists. And do we need a niche at all?

I know you will stampeed might reassure me and say, “Nonsense, you’re great, you’re special.” (BTW this blog post is not a fishing for compliments exercise – though who doesn’t like compliments?) Anyway, my average epiphany got me thinking… Is average okay? Is it alright to be quite good  at a few thing but genius at nothing?

LOOK AT ME!!

LOOK AT ME!!

Look at this amazing pic I saw on Pinterest about refusing to be average and soaring to dizzying heights. Soaring. I’d try it but it just looks like so much EFFORT. Plus those muscles are seriously scary and I don’t want to scare people.

Perhaps we were more content when we were allowed to be average. We were more relaxed certainly, before all the reaching our potential pressure to rise above everyone and excel – to achieve our dreams, become rich and famous or the very best. Maybe just doing something quite well is okay, yet it doesn’t seem to be valued in our aspirational times. Maybe putting in a modest day’s work, caring for loved ones and languishing on the sofa watching Q and A  Offspring is okay, after all.

British/French writer and philosopher Alain de Botton proposed an interesting theory in his book Status Anxiety. Status AnxietyEssentially, de Botton says that life was happier back in feudal times when we were locked into serfdom and didn’t expect to rise above our stations. We weren’t aspirational, we didn’t hanker to be lord and lady of the manor because there was just NO CHANCE it’d happen. No matter how hard you worked as a serf, you could never own any land. It was an austere life and we mightn’t have been consciously happy – working hard for the squire, getting old and bent at 25 and dying of old age at 35. Yet we weren’t consciously feeling inadequate or striving to be well above average. We might have been content. We didn’t covet celebrity because we didn’t have celebrity.

That said, Elizabeth Woodville was something of a fashion icon. She looks hot comely in that elegant ensemble…I might have coveted that, serf or no serf.

Flippancy aside, our raison d’etre in feudal times was average. It was probably average until the Industrial Revolution created the middle class and allowed some movement between the classes.

As I was contemplating what to write about for this post – preferably something illuminating and insightful – I came to the conclusion that I have no real expertise. I’ve NEVER received a trophy for anything in my entire life, even though I did sports, music and dancing as a child (I got a ribbon once but the memory is hazy). What does this reveal about me, that I am mediocre? Why do we fear mediocrity so much? It’s such an awful word – mediocre – it’s average in a bad way, but what is average in a good way…normal, typical, unexceptional?

Dusting off my average-ego I faced the fact that there is no topic on which I can eloquently waffle knowing that I am shedding light and wisdom.

Book reviews: I’d like to write these because I am the suppository of wisdom averagely clued up on books, but it occurs to me that I’m not well organised enough to read and review books with any kind of regular discipline. And there are some bloggers who do this very well – definitely not averagely.

Politics: I’d like nothing more than to weigh into political debate, lampooning our reigning politicians and government with zeal and acid wit…But over at Crikey, The Hoopla, The New Matilda – among others – they cover this very unaveragely. I’m content to read their articles, giggle and shake my head at  human folly.

Nature: I’m a HUGE fan of the natural world. As I’ve said before (probably very inappropriately), “Who needs cocaine when you can gaze at Nature and get high?” But can I translate this passion for Nature into brilliant photography? No, though I do participate in Wordless Wednesday and the Weekly Photo Challenge to try to show off showcase my talent averageness.

Urban Farming: I’ve alluded to my genius attempts in the vegie patch in Transgender Hen. I’ll leave you today with proof of my teetering on the brink of below-averageness with these before and after pics of my amazing deficient ability. I took a photo of a recently purchased hydrangea last Spring as it sat resplendently in a pot on our deck: potted beauty This is that same hydrangea recently, after I released it into nature and dirt and soil….so it would die flourish. But before you dis me completely, grab a microscope and examine the photo carefully. Do you see a minute green shoot? Not HOPELESS after all – just the wrong side of average!IMG_1326Maybe I’ve come at this from the wrong angle.  Maybe it’s the trying, the effort that counts…perhaps that’s good for us. The trying. We like to rise above average and shine a little even if the end result is a bit averagey.

Over to you. Are you a bit, very or below average? And are you cool with your this? (Or maybe you’re a little bit genius?)

Linking today with Essentially Jess and IBOT. Joining Grace for FYBF

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SERIOUS and other important trivia…

Those of you who read this blog and they’re aren’t all that many, (but it’s QUALITY not quantity that counts right? 😉 ) understand that flippancy is my middle name. That my preference in writing posts is for tongue-in-cheek, self-mocking nonsense about chooks, dogs, coffee and Poppet, although anyone who is the parent of a teenager or remembers being a teenager, will appreciate that teenagers and in particular, teenage girls, are anything but trivial individuals. And indeed Precious Poppet is every bit an important and high-maintenance individual.

Autumn Perfection.

Poppet and Autumn Perfection.

 

S & M     D & M

Occasionally though, I do get a bit existential deep and meaningful and wax on about something weightier, more philosophical.  I’ve read a few insightful posts this past week or two on a variety of serious topics – too many to mention now, so please don’t be offended if I’ve commented on your post, but haven’t mentioned it here.

One on incivility in social media stands out: Let’s Talk Twitter and Trolls and Dinner Parties, shall we? Kat’s post looks at ‘trolling’ and general impoliteness on social media and urges us to engage in virtual discourse as one would do with face-to-face discourse, with good manners and decorum. This post made me think about life before social media and I got all contemplative. Of course, there was work, family commitments and writing a year ago, before I started writing a blog and twittering, and I was very busy but it was a different kind of busy. I didn’t jump with glee when I received notification of a comment or an email to inform me I had a new follower on Twitter. I was a rather simple creature in my non-virtual world. I didn’t squeal with girlish delight when my tweet was retweeted or avidly read a particularly warm and charming comment on my post. I was spared the pleasure, or pain…if my tweet disappeared unanswered into cyber space or my post languished comment-less. I wasn’t needy. I think I was a bit cooler.

Yet there’s so much good about social media – engaging with clever and interesting people everywhere – the sheer scope of talent and opinion is vast. They might not be real friends in the sense of those we meet up with regularly for coffee or brunch or dinner or just meet up. But real ones, nonetheless.

SERIOUS

I read several brilliant posts written on ANZAC Day and its significance and one lingers:  ‘Reflections on the selflessness and sacrifice of some ordinary Australians…’ I’ve never before read anything more lyrically worded on war and its devastating implications than that of Wing Commander Sharon Bown. Simply beautiful words. Then there’s Majoring in Literature, an erudite blog that’s good value, reviewing books with a close understanding of the text, combining travel and history, interspersed with beautiful photos.

And there was Deb’s interesting post on idealised TV shows and life envy: ‘Why I won’t be watching Offspring.’ I seriously believe ‘life envy’ has increased exponentially since the advent of social media. There might have been perfect people with perfect lives around before but we didn’t know about them. We were spared their perfection.

Bad Behaviour and Girls’ Schools.

Jonah Takalua has a lot to answer for. I recall when Summer Heights High came out  a few years ago and Year 8 boys thought it was funny to draw dictation on the black/white board. They chanted “Puck you, Miss. JOKE Miss!” with monotonous regularity until I wanted to send them all back to Tonga, except they weren’t from Tonga. They were typical Aussie kids just trying to escape writing essays.

Image courtesy of: futuremusicgroup.com

Image courtesy of:
futuremusicgroup.com

Jonah from Tonga is back. No wonder Pinky (that witty minx blogger I know) wants to work in a girls’ school. This post is HILARIOUS: ‘Why I want to work in an all girls’ school!‘  And you don’t need to be a teacher to appreciate it. (Apparently smiling – even the act of stretching your lips in a grinning expression whether you feel happy or not – releases feel-good endorphins that literally lift your spirits). I guarantee that after reading this post you’ll be giggling, very naturally. 😀

CHOOK UPDATE – THE STORY OF RED.

We bought Red, Snowy and Blacky as two day old chicks  all ostensibly GIRLS. Snowy and Blacky were feminine hens but Red was always a bit butch blokey. But hey we’re not discriminatory about gender in our family, feathers or no feathers. But when she he started crowing pre-dawn, a VOCIFEROUS TRILLING “COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOO!” it was time to take Red back to the farm (we’re in the middle of suburbia!) I should’ve noticed before this, especially when she he was mounting cuddling the other hens in an unplatonic way. The Sexer had got it wrong. (Bizarre as it sounds, there is a profession/job entitled “Sexer”. They look at chicks’ private parts and deem them male or female…Sometimes Sexers get it wrong).

CHICKIBABES.

growing chickadees

They’re getting bigger and have moved to a larger pen, but I’ve observed an undesirable hen dynamic: Lasquisha – the biggest and bossiest – dominates. Unfortunately, the pecking-order is alive and flourishing in real life. Lasquisha keeps Cinnamon, Princess and Lacey under control. She pecks them on the head for no apparent reason except to show she’s the boss…a bit like the classroom/playground bully, really.

I'm boss!

I’m boss!

Who is big and bossy in your life? Or are you the boss? And I’m not being sizeist either, I mean big in the metaphorical sense…

Linking up today with Rhianna and Thankful Thursday which has made me focus on the things I am grateful for: I’m thankful that Lasquisha can’t boss me around (I just can’t avoid flippancy!) I’m thankful that Poppet is no longer being bullied. And I’m thankful for the dying splendour of Autumn leaves. Is there anything in your life that you’re thankful for?

Joining With Some Grace for FYBF

MY FIRST ACT OF REBELLION.

IMG_0093Inspired by Kerri Sackville and her My First Blogger Challenge

I wasn’t a particularly rebellious child but I started young. I was only five – in Kindergarten. To look at my five year old face you wouldn’t think I was a rebel. I was.

braceletTechnically, this was more robbery and lying rather than straight rebellion. It involved swapping my best friend’s gold bluebird bracelet for a bag of lollies. The fact that it had her name JULIE engraved on the heart didn’t deter me, I went ahead with the robbery  swap anyway. My mother asked me where I’d got the lovely bracelet from and I lied exaggerated by saying “I found it.” She rang Julie’s mother and returned said bracelet. But Julie had eaten the lollies and I was left with nothing. Poetic justice perhaps…

My first real act of rebellion was came three years later and involved the same friend, Julie. It’s quite obvious that it must have been her fault influence leading me astray, rather than any innate naughtiness on my part.

We lived in a country town and like all children, I’d been instructed by my parents to never speak to strangers and to always come home straight after school. On that particular day I didn’t speak to strangers but I didn’t come home from school either. I went to Julie’s. Her mother was out but that didn’t bother us as we raided the cupboard for snacks and disappeared into the garden to play…for 3 hours.

My mother rang but no one answered. She scoured the streets looking for me. She ran into neighbours’ houses, dementedly shrieking my name. She called my father at the office. She rang the Police…the whole town was looking for me.

policeIt’s all a blur really but I recall that in their relief that I hadn’t been kidnapped, killed or injured, I wasn’t really punished. And even the stern lecture that followed, dissipated in the myriad of being squashed hugged.

I wasn’t very rebellious after that. Until High School…

Were you a goody-goody or a rebel, or just a normal kid?