Warning: This is a pretty personal post. Staying up too late with too much wine and too much self doubt led to this existential crisis. Writing blog posts when you’re alone at 3am after nearly 2 bottles of wine can make you question your life.
I’m in a never ending battle with the demons of mediocrity. I can’t think of another thing more depressing than knowing that I have one life, one very short life, and that my life will probably be meaningless. Not a horrible life as if I didn’t try. Not a life where I truly made a difference and reached my peak. Just a life of mediocrity. A life firmly in the middle. An invisible life. Why even live this life if you’ll end it with no greater impact than before it existed?
So I’m constantly fighting to be better. I know I’m better than shit – even better than normal, but there I am; firmly in the middle. I’d rather be in the realm of those who do not care than be where I feel that I am. In the truly invisible and meaningless class of mediocrity. Its hard to look at your colleagues constantly in an upward gaze. I don’t necessarily want to look down on them. I don’t need to be remembered. I just want to be level with the. I want to look at colleagues in my industry and think to myself, “there is nothing that that person can do, that I cannot do.” I’m in a perpetual state of deprecation. I feel as if I’ve done enough to make it. To coast by. I can successfully work with the knowledgable and be seen as knowledgable myself; yet it’s not enough. No one will know my work. No one will know my name. I am invisible. Meaningless. A drone. Just another cog in the machine. I will admit I am slightly higher than some. Some being those with no desire to ever more than they are, yet I am still lower than where I should be – where I want to be. I will forever be in the position of looking up to where I want to be and never satisfied with where I am. I am lost.
We get in these positions where we feel like we are successful. We feel like we have lots of experience. But you should ask yourself, what have you done? What have you changed? The answer is probably nothing. It’s all bullshit. Because we get comfortable. We get complacent. And complacency is the mortal enemy of success. But then again is success even enough? Technically I am successful. I have the experience. I have the value. But I still feel like I am nothing. “Success,” whatever that means, is nothing unless it is success for you. You can save as many corporate dollars as you can and be respected by as many small teams of other mediocre people as you can but in the end you still disappear. You still meant nothing.
How can we be worth something? How can we make our lives not a meaningless brief gasp for Oxygen in a generally meaningless existence surrounded by a probably even more meaningless world? Who knows. I just know I don’t need to be remembered. I just want to know for myself that I broke the middle. That I did not accept that I am mediocre. And I don’t accept that I’m mediocre, but I really question if I can overcome it. People who love me will tell me differently, but I feel like I know my capabilities and my limits. And I really don’t know If I can ever be like or as good as one of the people I look up to. And it kills me. It negates my life. Being good enough to do what I do yet only good enough to be completely invisible. We have such an absurdly short life. How can you settle for what you’ve done?
I try to learn as much as I can. I try to do more than I’ve done before. I still doubt it’ll ever be enough. How do you come to terms with the fact that you are mediocre? How do you come to terms with the fact no one will ever know your work? How do you come to terms with the fact that you will never contribute to society? Never contribute anything worth while. That you will forever be a user and not a producer. Most of us live and die and disappear. Will you just fade away? Or will you be more? Not everyone can be Oscar Wilde or Steve Jobs. The vast majority of us are predetermined to be nothing. So will you at least burn out trying to be more? Burn out trying everything you could? As immortalized by Kurt Cobain’s suicide note, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.
I’ll keep trying. That is who I am. But the more I try the thinner I’m spread, and I fear mediocrity will win. And as hard as I try to burn out, I will just fade away. The goddamned devil of mediocrity will win. I’ll die in the middle. I’ll die a nobody.
I guess wanting to be more is better than never caring, but at least they never know what they could have been. While we unfortunate damned in the middle never became great, but knew, with absolute clarity, that we could have been great and never were. We never were.