My husband and I went for coffee one morning last week after dropping the boys off at school. I’ll drink any coffee anywhere, but he usually picks the hip little shop right up the road when we go together. That morning, it was more crowded than I’d ever seen it and so we found our place in line and waited our turn. When you are in line in a fairly small place, you can’t help but hear the conversations of the people around you. I assure you; I am not an eavesdropper by any means. There’s really not much I dislike more than mindless chatter with strangers, so I pride myself on not making eye contact so that I may avoid a conversation.
As we stood there minding our own business, we couldn’t help but look at each other at one point with the facial expression of “do you hear what I hear?” and “we will discuss this further once we sit down.” It was a conversation between two guys and a girl. The two guys clearly worked together, and the girl worked somewhere in their realm, but not directly with them. There’s nothing unusual about three career-minded people discussing their jobs, right?
Let me explain further. The more we listened, the more we started hearing things like:
- “Yeah, one more year here and then my wife and I move back to Kenya.”
- “I’m really trying to break into the African market, so my husband and I are vacationing in Cape Town this summer to see what we think about it.”
- “How did you enjoy Botswana?” “Ohhh…Botswana is definitely the most expensive place to vacation over there.”
- “The safari we did was $4000 a day per person.”
- “Yeah, the peak season for our safaris is June and July because right now the grass is too long since the wildebeests haven’t made their way there yet.”
- “My husband wanted to play golf all day every day, so he just started his own business doing that.”
Please understand that there was absolutely nothing wrong with these conversations, and I admit I was pretty hooked as I stood there pretending not to listen. However, when we finally ordered our coffee and made our way to our seats, I realized how small I felt in that coffee shop.
I felt so average.
I felt so boring. I felt so culturally dull. I found myself cringing at the thought of striking up a conversation with these people and them saying, “What do you do?”
Umm…I don’t even want to tell you. I have worked in education my whole life with stay-at-home mom stints and get excited to go to the beach in South Carolina maybe every other year. Also, if I’m honest, I thought Botswana was a kingdom in a Disney movie. Furthermore, are there really people out there who can take their family of five on a safari for five days at $4,000 a day per person? Who are they? What do they do? Why am I not one of them? Are they married? (jk)
I sometimes struggle with comparing my life to the lives I see on social media, but I’m usually quick to remind myself that pictures aren’t reality. However, listening to these three real-life people in their late 20s talk about their jobs and the unbelievable experiences they are living really got under my skin. That is their reality and it’s so much more exciting than mine.
The more I thought about it (all day long), I had to keep repeating to myself that average is ok.
It’s ok to have an average house. It’s ok to have an average car. It’s ok to have an average job. It’s even ok to have average kids who make average grades and play sports, well, averagely. I think it’s ok to have an average bank account and take average vacations and have average birthday parties and average dinners at home six nights a week. It’s also very much ok to strive for more than average and not always achieve it. It’s ok to save up to take an above average vacation, but then find out your child needs braces so you use that money on them, and vacation becomes average again.
Moms, what I’m saying is that it’s ok to not move to Kenya, to not visit Cape Town for work, to not go on a $40,000 safari, or to not start your own business based on your favorite hobby. I know that the older I get the more I feel like life just keeps being more about who has the bigger this and who has the better that, and I miss the days where pizza and TGIF was the above average Friday night. My point is…it still is for us, and it still can be for you.