During one of my many, many existential crises, I realized something important: I desperately want to be extraordinary. I don’t think this is specific to Millennials, although I do think we have a harder time putting our finger on our general dissatisfaction in life. I want to be extraordinary and I realize I never will be because all of my passions and pursuits are trumped by people who are better than I am.
This is upsetting to me.
So I try new things and immediately start to replace my failed experiments with a new one: can I be the best at my new pursuit? Can I dream big enough to become That One Awesome Girl Who Achieves That One Thing Better Than Anyone Else?
All I have to do is spend 5 minutes on Instagram to realize that I will never be The One in any of my favorite areas. I won’t be THE talented cellist, funniest writer, creative photographer, drool-inducing baker, or newly discovered climber.
But does that make my passions and hobbies unworthy of pursuit? No. It just makes me humble myself to realize that I got my priorities wrong, again. Life is not about being the best or most recognizable. It is about carving a path that inspires your small community of people around you to pursue Love.
Love for others, love for self, love for God.
I do have qualities in my inherent self that others frequently tell me are unusual (other than my passionate love for apples). People tell me I am one of the nicest people they know. I don’t always understand this, as I do have to fight very hard against the urge to lose my temper when I am feeling impatient or tired or cranky. I know how flawed I am, even if they do not. Still, I am mostly successful in my pursuit to be patient and kind, despite the fact that it is a struggle.
I think we all have some gift we have been given that we can nurture in ourselves. This gift is perhaps our truest self, though we have to fight for it to grow and reveal itself, like baby teeth being forced out by adult teeth. It’s an inherent quality that must be grown in the heart and perfected by unyielding practice. This gift — whatever it is — is an extraordinary glimpse into the beauty of the human spirit at its most selfless, when it is pursuing endless Love.
If I can’t be extraordinary in one of my passions, maybe I can be extraordinarily kind and thoughtful. That seems rare, and a good start.
How will you be extraordinary?