This is an excerpt taken from the book WHOLE ASS: Stop living a half-assed life and enjoy an extraordinary existence by Maharani
My dad used to call me Runaway Bride. I do not look like Julia Roberts, although I do have a big mouth, nor do I wear dresses with running shoes. Actually, who am I kidding? Sometimes I do. He called me that because running away was the thing I did best.
You don’t believe me? Let’s do some math: College years: Studied at 7 different universities... ... in 3 different countries ... in 5 different cities ... in 11 different apartments ... tried 12 different degrees. ... finished none.
I am not even going to do the math on relationships. Let’s not even go there. Let’s not count. I’ll just repeat the term: “Runaway Bride.” There is a reason behind it.
I’ve had serious relationships, not-so-serious relationships and sex friends. I’ve been engaged and had a marriage that later turned into a relationship.
I’ve dated guys from seven different countries. I’ve lived with boyfriends and been in both monogamous relationships and not-so-monogamous ones. I’ve played a housewife, I’ve been a muse and I’ve dumped and been dumped.
I’ve loved someone who didn’t love me back and I’ve had to break the heart of someone I didn’t love. I’ve longed for years for the one that got away, and I’ve been the object of desire of the one I ran away from. I’ve been in love with my best friend and I’ve cheated and been cheated on. I’ve doubted my sexual orientation, only to run back to it 30 minutes later.
I’ve moved countries chasing an ideal that ended in tears, and I’ve moved cities and discovered that being intrepid is actually a good thing. I’ve been single for years and then a serial monogamist just as long. I’ve believed in fairy tales, and I have also believed that this whole thing called life is nothing other than a cosmic joke.
I do not know if I have tried it all, but I am pretty sure I’ve tried a lot.
Throughout my 20s, I thought I was living life fully, to the maximum. The world seemed like a buffet to me, and I was constantly hungry. I was so proud of myself for being full on.
Was I happy? No. Was I living fully?
I’ve since discovered that no, I wasn’t.
Always striving for the perfect life – one without a single dull moment – I had fallen into the scariest trap of them all: half-ass.
My hungry guts were constantly empty. Nothing was digesting, nothing was nourishing enough and nothing was giving me satisfaction. No pleasure, challenge or novelty could last, and even if it did, I was constantly asking myself if there was something better around the corner.
I felt like a Viking, constantly sinking my teeth into a big piece of meat, only to spit it out after sucking out all the flavor.
Life was at my feet and I was living everything half- full. I knew I could do anything I wanted, I was built that way, and yet I wasn’t fulfilled.
I was missing the point of being alive.
You probably remember a time, a long, long time ago, when you attended kindergarten, and life seemed to be incredibly fluid and joyful.
Now, however, the world seems to be full of angry or annoying people, and you guess that the wonderful experience you once had was only meant for little kids. Adults do not get to have that. OK, maybe some do, but it’s probably due to the alignment of their planets, or else they are just really lucky people born in a golden crib.
You have a job and some activities going on in your life. You pay your bills and probably own a house, or at least you’d like to. You are doing everything you are supposed to. Heck, you even go on vacations with the family! However, peace and happiness remain fleeting experiences that you constantly feel the need to keep grasping at or topping up.
You probably have a relationship or marriage that is good, but not great, filled with complications and awkward silences. You wish it could be easier, you wish you could be seen, and you sometimes wonder if this is all there is. But hey, it’s better than nothing, and you are too old or too involved to change it now.
Perhaps you are single, trying on relationships like shirts at a mall, or avoiding them as if they were the devil incarnate. Maybe amazing relationships based on growth, giving, constant joy and flow only happen to a few chosen ones, because those people were blessed by cupid’s kiss.
You have friends, but you long for those days when you were younger and conversations went deeper. That time when you could actually hang out and have quality time together, when friends were a big part of your life. Now you are lucky if you see them once a month.
You wonder if this is the life you are meant to live.
If you encounter a big challenge, and if it happens to match your schedule, you start some sort of regime to make your life better, and you feel happy for a while. You even start to consider the possibility that the world can be a happy place, and happiness and contentment seem within reach. Eventually, that feeling fades, and life seems stagnant again. You didn’t get it, and you quickly get used to that.
Maybe a few fleeting moments of aliveness is all you will get in this lifetime?
Medioctiry is the Not-so-new Plague. Ordinariness. Flatline. Minimum effort. Average. Common places. Passing through. Being invisible.
You go to the coffee house and the clerk is not quite there. She is checking her phone with one hand and taking your order with the other.
You call your phone company, and you are not sure if you are talking to a robot or an actual person. Whatever you say, you get the same freaking scripted response.
You get a new idea and ask someone at work if something can be done. “Oh, I don’t know, it’s really complicated,” they say, and then go back to their screen.
You wonder if people are actually inside their bodies. ‘Hello!!! Is anyone in there?’ You eventually get so frustrated that you decide to do the same. Just finish this day. Just pass through.
No one seems to be quite enjoying what they are doing. How would life be if everyone, from the cleaning clerk to the director of the UN, was actually enjoying, with complete enthusiasm, whatever they were doing?
Mediocrity is not new. Its original definition was “halfway up a mountain.” Get excited about something, start it, arrive halfway, get comfortable, eat a 7-Eleven sandwich and forget about getting to the top. After all, you probably didn’t really want to get any higher in the first place.
Mediocrity means staying in the middle, neither here nor there.
Have you ever been on a sidewalk and there is someone walking in front of you, slowly, right in the middle, so that you cannot pass them on the left or right? They are oblivious to the fact that their middle walking is affecting other people’s journeys to their destinations. Everything behind them starts stagnating, with people cramping up behind.
Everybody sighs in relief once that person decides to move over and stare at a window or something. Order is restored.
Mediocrity is not to be confused with neutrality. I am talking about an extended belief in humankind, which says that we take for granted the fact that we are a walking miracle, made of stardust, with an elastic machine that allows us to experience life through the senses; to feel love and to see the colors and benevolence of this planet called Earth.
A belief that as humans, we somehow came to simply use up oxygen, pay bills, be kind of happy and then die.
Each one of us is a miracle. I am not saying anything new, but can you see it? You were inside someone’s belly once, the product of a moment where an ovule and a sperm decided to love each other and create life. That is no accident. You are no accident.
You are a freaking walking miracle.
We all have a purpose. We all have it in us. We need to discover what that is.