The Blessings of Underachievement

This Thanksgiving, I was grateful for a very odd blessing.  Here is the back story:

Recently, I heard many people say variations of:

“I can’t do that anymore.”

“When I was young, I could do cartwheels!”

“I don’t have the stamina anymore . . . .”

“When I was young, I could speak Yiddish.  Now I can’t remember.”

I understand.  Actually, no, I don’t understand.

I never was exceptional at anything.  I never did cartwheels, run marathons or speak more than one language.

I was certainly good at things but no thing that was ever so a part of my identity that time so that age robbed me of the ability to enjoy it. (Or, at least, I have forgotten about it/them, as happens with age.)

Underachievement was not well tolerated in my family, but my parents didn’t really think there was much else to achievement other than academic achievement.  And, well, that was redundant in my family, much like “free gift”.

And while BOB and I are certainly no academic slouches, thank G-d, SOB’s resume sparkled enough to blind Mom and Dad to BOB’s and my more checkered academic pedigrees.

I was never a Olympian, rock star, virtuoso of any kind.  I have never had big ideas.  I have never been famous or a household name (other than in my own).

But then, again, I have never had to go on a B-list celebrity reality show to regain prior glory, go on Oprah to confess and seek redemption from America’s daytime TV viewers.  I have never had to hang up my cleats or have people whisper about whether my best days are behind me (they probably are, but no one really cares enough to discuss it).  No one expects a near-fifty year-old woman to do a cartwheel, although I guess many do run marathons.

If you don’t climb up so far on the ladder, your fall is not as bad.  My new mantra of underachievement.

Words to age by.