Well… today is my birthday.
Not a big deal. I’m not much of a party guy. I don’t like surprises and I am uncomfortable receiving presents. It makes me feel awkward.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about “Following Your Dreams.” I shared about some of the dreams that I have had growing up over the years.
One of those dreams was about becoming a member of The Temptations… yes… those Temptations. I still laugh at myself because I can’t sing and I can’t dance, let alone that I am not of a particular race that automatically in and of itself would disqualify me.
All of those aspects are true but it never stopped me from having the dream.
Things I wanted to be growing up is funny to me now that I look back on them. A pilot, a singer, a musician, a barber (this is the first public admission that I thought about becoming a barber), a baseball player, a great speaker, a great writer, a great teacher and these are just a “few of the things” I wanted to be growing up.
In truth, some of these dreams still creep around in my mind and heart.
I wanted to be someone. I wanted to be different and rise above average and be great at something. I wanted my home town of Oak Harbor, Ohio to remember who I was and I wanted my family to be proud of me.
The problem was I wasn’t great at anything on that list. Not one of them.
I have come to accept the fact that I am just an ordinary, average guy.
While I have accepted that fact, it is not what I wanted when I was growing up. I wanted to be anything but average.
One day, I am going to die and outside of my family it will probably get little notice. Maybe someone will be sad or write a nice note on my wife’s facebook page. It will be posted in the local paper obituary and after a few days people will move on.
It’s the cycle of life.
I’m not whining, because it will happen to you, too.
I have no death wish. Life is to be lived. I want to live as long as I possibly can. I want to experience everything that an ordinary, average guy should.
I accepted long ago that the world never revolved around me. It kind of blows your mind when you first realize this.
I just know I now wake up every day feeling that dying doesn’t scare me anymore.
The truth is, in 50 years, no one will remember me. No one’s going to care. There’s something unsettling about that. But liberating, too.
When you come to terms of being ordinary, of being average, possibly even below average, the stress and anxiety of feeling inadequate will dissipate. And the knowledge and acceptance of your own existence will actually free you to accomplish what you truly wish to accomplish with no judgments and no lofty expectations.
I have a growing appreciation for life’s basic experiences. I have learned to measure myself by new, healthier means: the pleasures of simple friendship, creating something with my hands, helping a person in need, reading a good book, laughing with someone I care about.
Sounds boring, doesn’t it? That’s because these things are average. But maybe they’re average for a reason, because they are what actually matters.
Life for the ordinary, average me is when my wife is being happy to see me after a long day at work. It’s when she texts me just to say, I love you. Life is knowing that there is no one I want to spend more time with except with my wife.
It’s when my grandson Brody comes into the room, hugs me and yells, “Grandpa” because he is excited to see me. It’s lying on the floor, playing with NASCAR cars and going to the races with my grandson, Indiana.
It’s sending stupid, ridiculous selfies to my daughter Cassidy and have her send hers back to me. It’s when my daughter, Crystal asks me for advice and for my help.
It’s when my son, Nathan tells me he loves me. Life is when my son, Adam and I are talking to each other in love.
It’s acknowledging my failures and coming to an acceptance of my responsibilities for them. It’s being forgiven by my Savior, Jesus Christ and having a personal relationship with Him.
Life is forgiving those who don’t deserve it. Life is forgiving yourself.
It’s having a church to attend that I love.
It’s a sunny day in the garage, being creative and working on another project with my hands.
Life for me is when I hear my daughter, Cassidy sing.
Life for me is a new album I want to listen to over and over. It’s listening to among others, The Temptations, Joe Walsh, Sanctus Real, James Taylor, ELO, Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Keith Green, Patsy Cline, David Phelps, Collective Soul and the Beatles.
It’s when someone likes something I wrote.
Life is giving more than we take. It’s leaving things around us just a little better than we found them.
Life is winning the battle so far to NOT be that old guy yelling at the local kids to stay off my lawn.
Life for me is all of this and more.
My list of what makes life special to me grows each day. I could not possibly list them all here. Sometimes I get caught up in what I could have been. I know that haunted me for years. However, as I sojourn to the backside of my 50’s, I have come to peace and acceptance that I will forever be ordinary and average.
Life for me is just being an ordinary, average guy.
And ultimately, it is me being okay with just that.