My parents were masters of making me feel like I was the smartest most fabulous kid out there. In hindsight, I see that I was the only fish in their pond and so of course, I would have all of these superlatives thrown at me. Plus, I was quite the over achiever and they were “modern parents”.
As I grew up and waded into larger and larger ponds, though, I began to realize that while I was still pretty darn special (special in a good way, not in a knowing wink-wink way), there were literally thousands of kids just like me. What was worse, there were thousands of kids who were smarter, more talented and more everything than me. That was hard to realize and even harder to accept.
These days, I am mostly comfortable with who I am and what I’ve accomplished. I finally realized that I needed to compare myself only to the plan that I had for my life, not with the accomplishments of others. On that scale, I’m doing pretty darned well.
Some days, though, that’s hard. Like when you hear an interview with a woman who is your age and has just won a MacArthur Genius Grant. What have I done with my life that would warrant a $500,000 no strings attached grant?
Nada. Zilch-o. Zippity-Do-Nah.
And you know what? That’s ok.
I admit, it did burn a little, even though I desired to be a marine biologist for about 5 minutes when I was 7 (although what girl didn’t dream about being a marine biologist when they were younger? I swear, for a few years there it was the stock answer to the question of your future career).
Mr. X and I discussed this question of extraordinary-ness on one of our recent evening walks with Rex (who added to the conversation by babbling and gurgling from behind his little red stroller curtain). He is very wise, Mr. X. He reminded me that the measure of my life is the love that it is in it and what I do to make me happy. Rex raspberried at that moment, probably to reinforce this.
He’s right. As usual. Right, right and right. And I know that I am happy with who I am, whether or not I’m given $500,000 for being fabulous. Maybe I should start playing the lottery, though, just in case.