Being Average

There is that moment when you start to realize just how poorly you felt and for how long. It happens just about the time you start to feel better. For me that time is this morning. Finally!

I’m not very good at the slow speed but it has been forced on me. When I didn’t listen it got forced on me even harder. By who or by what you ask? I leave that up to you to call it whatever you like. This is not a post about God vs. The Universe. It’s a post about coming out of the fog.

Physically the fog started about six weeks ago. I remember when my friend Howard was visiting over Father’s Day weekend  I just felt sort of not right. Mentally the fog (or this episode of it I suppose is the better admission) started about 6 months ago. I remember in February starting to worry about where we would live or what would it look like. On a good day I was scared. On a bad day I would panic.

unnamed-20This morning I’m sitting on the deck of my new pad with a cup of ginger mint tea looking out over the park. I finished the last two chapters of a book that I had left unfinished for two months and it blew me away and made me understand why I left it unfinished. It’s about 70 degrees and there is a light breeze. I’m in boxer briefs and a t-shirt. I’m not wearing any shoes. Thanks to antibiotics I’ve just about hacked up the last of the stuff that’s been in my sinuses and my lungs for over a month so I think I can go for a long bike ride. I’m writing again. Life is pretty average. And in this situation average is pretty good!

I’ve spent the better part of my adult life pushing the bar, seeking perfection, working like a madman and as a result I’ve had a lot of great experiences. When the water gets murky it’s a huge struggle for me to come to any form of acceptance of my limitations. Then one day recently my Mom said something that seemed so basic it was brilliant. She said “On the days when perfect seems too hard it’s fine to just be average.” That’s my Mom. Great listener always says the right thing. I often say to people I totally won the parent’s lottery. Stuff like that is exactly what I mean when I say that.

Yesterday in one of my forced moments of slow I was taking a break between my two morning yoga classes. I used to teach two back-to-back 90-minute classes in the morning twice a week. Now the club has changed the schedule and I teach two one-hour classes with an hour in between. Not surprisingly I hated it at first but it’s starting to grow on unnamed-21me. Yesterday morning I decided to use that time to sit outside at a nearby Starbucks and have a cup of tea. The sun was streaming through the trees and there was a comfy couch on the patio. It looked so inviting. As I sat I watched a guy walk up to the table with his dog and tie the dog’s leash to the leg of the chair while he went in to get his coffee. Normally that sort of thing would catch my attention for a second and I’d go back to my normal thoughts. Yesterday I just watched the dog. He got up and he lied down. He sniffed stuff. He whined a little bit. He watched the door of the Starbucks constantly. He got excited every time the door opened and slumped every time it wasn’t his guy. Finally his guy came out and he jumped up and down. His guy put his coffee on the table and then took the lid off his yogurt parfait. After his guy finished his yogurt parfait he let his little buddy lick the spoon. That dog never took his eyes of his guy the entire time. Some would say it’s because he knew he was going to get to lick the spoon. I say something else. It was unconditional love.

I’m not a dog owner but in my lifetime I’ve seen many others reveling in the joy of the unconditional love they get from their canine partner. Whether it’s from a pet or a person it’s really just the feeling of being loved that matters so much, right? Luckily I’ve had the joy of two remarkable parents, my amazing wife and some extremely special friends that have taught me lessons with their example of unconditional love. It’s a rare and special gift. Of those who have privileged me with that gift in this lifetime the latest addition was a friend who left us recently and too soon. That indeed has been no small part of the mental fog over the last six months. Of the things I miss about Richard I think the thing I miss the most is the way he made me feel so appreciated…so loved without judgment or any conditions.

So as the fog begins to clear a bit more I am grateful for the ability to see through it even if on some days it’s only limited visibility. I’m learning to be content with average when necessary. I’ve got a few amazing things to look forward too in the not too distant future like a seminar with Mike Dooley, a one year anniversary and a trip to Ireland. On the road to being my best, today I’m just happy to feel better.

Now about that bike ride…

About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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