ordinary can be extraordinary

Hey, that’s my line.

I wonder if there is any room for the ordinary any more, for the child or teenager — or adult — who enjoys a pickup basketball game but is far from Olympic material, who will be a good citizen but won’t set the world on fire. … Ordinary and normal smack too much of average. It seems that we all want to live in Garrison Keillor’s mythical Lake Wobegon, where all children are above average. … Most people … have talent in some areas, are average performers in many areas and are subpar in some areas. The problem is that we have such a limited view of what we consider an accomplished life that we devalue many qualities that are critically important. … How do we go back to the idea that ordinary can be extraordinary? How do we teach our children — and remind ourselves — that life doesn’t have to be all about public recognition and prizes, but can be more about our relationships and special moments? … Some people may fear that embracing the ordinary means that they are letting themselves and their children off easy. If it’s all right to be average, why try to excel? But the message isn’t to settle for a life on the couch playing Xbox (though, yes, playing Xbox is O.K. sometimes), but rather to to make sure you aspire to goals because they are important to you, not because you want to impress your parents, your community or your friends.

Alina Tugend