A few weeks ago with no apparent preamble, I started to develop a thought thread – almost all of us, on some level, want the comfort of being thought of as normal but no one really wants to be perceived as being ordinary. The thought progressed. Somewhere along the edge of ordinary seems to be middle – middle income, middle age, middle America, middle child. I am a middle child grown to be in the midst of all this middle-ness.
Though if I am actually middle aged then I will live to be 100, which in this era of expanding life spans is still remarkable and therefore technically I passed middle age before I even thought what it might be. But I digress, and societally we seem to consider middle age to be late 40s through the 50s and sometimes into the 60s (which puts me in the middle of middle age…) so let’s get back to my main thought thread.
Normal, ordinary, middle – middle, middle middle (becomes a silly nonsense word if you say it enough) – are to be considered in the personal quest for meaning and our place in the world. Normal means we fit in, and despite the urge to be considered unique we do like to fit in. Ordinary has come to mean boring, and who wants to be boring?
I think back to childhood and that strong urge to blend in, because to call attention to oneself was to invite ridicule. I had these socks that had cute little blue flowers on them, I believe my aunt gave them to me. I really liked them, but I wore them all of once. I was patterned in a sea of white knee socks and it was as if there was a beacon trained on my legs and therefore me. I decided to stick to something more neutral.
Somewhere in high school I started the slow process of embracing my flower sock loving self. Until here I am in the middle in so many possibly superficial ways considering the terrain of normal, ordinary and what it means to be in the middle.
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