Today during lunch, I ran a bunch of errands and during the longest part of the drive, I caught most of an interview (mp3 file) with Kevin O’Keefe, author of The Average American. I came in during the part where he talked about how he’d changed his life as a result of writing the book. He’s slowed down and tried to appreciate what he has. He’s quit his job and moved to the suburbs. He talked about how average has become such a negative thing in America. We’re always working not be average, to have more money, a better job, a nicer house than our neighbors. We’re quick to want more. Barry Schwartz discusses this in the Paradox of Choice. How we get bored with what we have. There’s a real term for this, but I’ve forgotten it. I’m not so much bored with what I have as just so used to always striving for the next thing, accomplishing the next goal, that I fail to notice what I have.
I was looking back over my blog entries from 6 months and a year ago and realizing how much stuff I pack into my life. I honestly don’t feel frazzled most of the time, except when lots of things converge. But I think after I finish this degree, I’m getting off the treadmill for awhile. I’m going to be average for awhile. I’m not going to be writing a book or getting a doctorate or speaking at conferences two or three times a month. I’m going to do my job well. Travel with the kids. Take plenty of vacation time. I’m going to putter around the house. And then we’ll see where I am and where I want to be.