What do you think about the word “mediocre”? Perhaps you associate it with the words: average, medium, mid, or amateur. It may sound miserable but these words resonate in me more than others.
Before mediocrity became relative to me, my mama raised me with expectations. Since then, she expected a lot from me. Her expectations are instilled in my head. As a result, I also put myself in those expectations.
I started schooling at four. Just as I thought the learning establishment was just for educating and interacting with peers, it was not. The memory of receiving my first award as an outstanding student is still vivid. The accolades, congratulatory words, and attention—the feeling was rewarding.
The praises coming from other people felt really special, but it was more so if it was from my mama. The validation I received because of my achievements made me want to improve and do more. This was the point I knew I crave praise and validation. I made sure that I would bag some more achievements. For this to be possible, I needed to set goals.
As I became a grade schooler, I studied hard just like what my mom imposed on me. My routine as a child revolved around school. I’d start my day preparing for it and end my day by doing homework. Since I rarely stepped outside to play, doing my school works with a side of reading or coloring had been my refuge. Even though I didn’t have as many friends as a kid would usually have, it was fine as long as I was doing well in my studies.
Everything turned out as I hoped for. I maintained to keep a spot on the honor roll. Of course, this was what I also did in my years in high school. My mama was happier than ever, joining her daughter on stage to receive her award. I lived for that moment, my mom’s priceless smiles.
To be honest, I felt that I can conquer everything as long as I had my achievements. I didn’t have anything to prove anymore. I am not mediocre. But it was all fun while it lasted.
Achiever’s worst nightmares
Apart from my elementary or high school days, it is different in college. It seems like a different and distant world. I felt alienated once I stepped in. It is in college that I realized that the world is bigger than it looks, figuratively—that there are others that are far better than me.
Hearing my block mates say that they came from this particular school, competed in this competition, achieving this and that—it is overwhelming. I can’t compete or even be compared to them. What is even more upsetting is that I am average beside them. I felt that mediocrity is shamefully shoved at my face.
I am mediocre after all. The words average, mere, medium, mid, all of it is me. Now I fully understand the joke, “May may ibobobo pa pala ako sa college.” But this time, I wish it was just a joke.
Before, I barely lift a finger to achieve what I want. But now, even if I tire my whole body is not enough to get what I want. From acing exams and competitions, to just barely surviving. Yes, I’m mediocre indeed, and I let it get the best of me.
Still, what is with mediocrity that we spite? Is it because of being average? Something that’s not better? Or maybe because it doesn’t equate to having potential to the fullest?
Noob achiever’s takeaways as mediocre
Each time I felt less of myself when people are no longer applauding, and mama stopped expecting, is when I realized that medals and awards can’t comfort me. Mediocrity reminds me that I sought the wrong validation and affirmation.
In addition, mediocrity taught me that all of us have limits. We are not absolute, perpetual, and omniscient. We are not as high as we think we are.
Mediocrity also made me realize that I still have a lot to work on myself. It is not being the best of the best, but rather being better than before. Everything we do in life doesn’t require an honorary badge to be considered an accomplishment. Sometimes, surviving a day, fighting off intrusive thoughts, or finishing a task on a deadline is enough to be recognized as an achievement.
As we grow old in time, there is a necessity to learn the hard way. We need life to shake our shoulders the hardest to wake us up in reality. Don’t ever forget that it’s okay to just be okay. For more articles, click this link.
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