While celebrity culture endures, there is a noticeable rise in people who celebrate the ordinary life. The popularity of ‘warts and all’ bloggers, illustrators and comedians such as Constance Hall, Matthew Inman, Em Rusciano and Amy Schumer demonsrates that we are increasingly embracing those we can relate to.
Add in the work of those who teach acceptance, shame-resilience and self-compassion, and we have the message that a messy, challenging, vulnerable life is not just an average life, it’s a worthy life.
It’s refreshing to hear that others struggle, make poor choices, have ‘bad’ habits, often don’t know what they’re doing, fail and feel lonely. But more than that, it’s validating. It strips away the veneer that comes from striving and instead fosters connection, empathy and acceptance.
I was reminded of the latter this week, while listening to music as I worked. The song Bein’ Green began and, for the first time ever, I paused and really listened to the lyrics:
It’s not that easy bein’ green; having to spend each day the colour of the leaves. When I think it could be nicer bein’ red, or yellow or gold or something much more colourful like that.
It’s not that easy bein’ green; it seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things. And people tend to pass you over, ’cause you’re not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water or stars in the sky.
But green’s the colour of spring. And green can be cool and friendly-like. And green can be big like the ocean, or important like a mountain, or tall like a tree.
When green is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why, but why wonder? Why wonder? I’m green and it’ll do fine- it’s beautiful. And I think it’s what I want to be.
How often do we catch ourselves wishing we were something different to what we are – more talented, eloquent, confident or less prone to awkwardness, failure and mistakes – because these are the qualities we think might lift us beyond ordinary?
And how often do we take stock and identify how our existing qualities already benefit us and others? My guess is not often enough. But a talent which brings joy to the local community instead of making international headlines is not a second-rate talent, nor does its owner lead a second-rate life.
So the next time you find yourself dreaming of a more exciting life, take a moment to really validate the average one you’re already living. After all, you just might find, like Kermit did, that the things which make you ordinary in some ways make you extraordinary in others.
Photo credit: The Muppets
Bein’ Green written by Joe Raposo