July and August are always quiet for me at work, and I use this precious time to get back to myself: ponder about my life, where I am, where I want to be and why I’m not there yet. It is the time
In July, I finished “The school of greatness” by Lewis Howes, and despite all the right messages, something bugged me about it. The book talks a lot about having a vision, keeping yourself fit and motivated, surrounding yourself with the right people to become the best version of yourself.
Sounds, well, great, right? Because why wouldn’t I or anyone else want to find my passions and achieve incredible things in life?
I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I began to read “Swell” by Liz Clark. It’s a personal and very moving story of self and world exploration while sailing the oceans. It may make Liz sound rich, but she isn’t; she’s been passionate about sailing and surfing since childhood, and it took her a lot of effort to get a small boat, learn how to sail it and, most importantly, find the courage to sail away.
In her book, she talks a lot about her own challenges, both mental and physical, but what makes Liz an amazing person to me is her interaction with the world. It is how she talks about the wonders of nature, how upset she is when she sees the devastation caused by human activity in the most remote places, how open-minded and open-hearted she is about local people and their lives.
Liz Clark doesn’t have much, but she is richer than most people can ever dream to be: she is free to be herself and to do what she’s loved since childhood.
I wish I could be like Liz. I wish I knew what I wanted from life from a young age and I wish I had the courage to resist the society telling me to be normal and become a manager who can afford a car and a mortgage.
I’m nowhere near being that. I don’t have any apparent passions like sailing or painting or teaching or managing businesses or designing anything or cycling. I’m ordinary. I’m one of tens of millions of young women around the world who live boring lives.
What is ‘great’ in my case then?
Pushing myself to try different things until I find something I turn out to be passionate about? Becoming an inspirational person that people look up to? Making as much money from as many ventures as possible?
All sound great, but all those things are still about looking for something great and not being great. I don’t want to turn 80 still trying things and waiting for that greatness. I’m happy to work for greatness, but what the eff is greatness for ordinary people like me?
I don’t know. And while I don’t, there is something I know for sure: I don’t want greatness in its classic form.
I want a cozy home where I am quietly happy with my family and where I can have some delicious home meals with good wines. A couple of cats would make it the best place in the world. I don’t want a seven- or eight-figure mansion with a pool and a garage with fancy cars.
I want to have enough money to have a decent lifestyle that means having a lovely place to leave, not having to worry about paying the bills and buying food, being able to buy quality things, enjoying holidays to exciting places around the world now and then. I don’t want to worry about my bank balance because there’s too much or too little in it.
I want to have close friends who matter to me because I care about them and because I know it’s mutual. I don’t want thousands of followers on social media. And I don’t want to be with people only because there may be some benefits of knowing them.
I want to be a conscious consumer whose purchasing decisions leave as little footprint on animal welfare, farmlands, waste and pollution as possible. I don’t want to buy more, more, more because that’s what we’re told we should do (because it keeps our economies afloat).
I want to enjoy quiet mornings and lazy evenings. I don’t want an abundant social life so that I could show something on my Instagram.
I want to be acknowledged and respected for what I do and to enjoy a work-life balance with the stress on the latter. I want to continue to develop professionally and personally. But I don’t want to be a big CEO.
I want to enjoy life’s simples pleasures. I want to wake up to my husband’s kiss on my neck. I want to look in the mirror and love my body. I want to enjoy the taste of every food I eat. I want to listen to favourite music and dance when no one is watching. I want to laugh with my family and friends. I want to go away sometimes to remind myself how much I love coming home. I want to sip on wine while watching TV with my husband’s arm around me. I don’t want to keep
I want to be a normal person with my own flaws. I don’t want to be an inspirational figure and teach people how to be great.
Because I don’t want to be great.
I want to be myself.
It may not be as exciting, but it’s the best I can be.