The Overwhelming Pressure To Be Great

It doesn’t seem enough to do your job faithfully, with integrity, well. You’re constantly prodded to be phenomenal.

When asked about your dreams, you dare not mention anything plain, for fear you’ll be met with pitying eyes, and hear that tired warning not to “settle”.

We rarely celebrate longevity, reliability, the down-to-earth providing of services in the same way we elevate an astounding, high profile, showy career. Or performance. Or production.

Entertainment, the IT industry, or politics has profile; the service sector, common laborers, volunteerism happens in the shadows.

So today I honor the ordinary, the undervalued, underpaid and often overworked.

The list is so extensive, I cannot possibly mention them all — please feel free to make your addition to the list of heroes and heroins.

To the men and women
who pick our fruit and vegetables,
who answer our customer service requests,
who cut our lawns.

To everyone who mops floors
and keeps restrooms clean
in public spaces.

To each competent interventionist
who pulls a child from danger or
rescues a pet who is suddenly discarded.

To those who teach our children,
serve them lunches, offer after-school support.

To each person who sacrifices leisurely
hours with loved ones to serve our food
in surroundings away from our homes,
in hopes that our generosity
will, indeed, provide food, clothes
and shelter for their loved ones.

To every artist, writer, poet, musician
who scratches to bring in enough
to continue to hone their craft
and offer their gift to the world.

To the open hearted people who
embrace those without homes,
give refuge to those endangered by violence,
champion those who are differently-abled,
all who care for the elderly.

To those who collect our trash,
check out our groceries,
deliver our mail,
rotate our tires and change our oil,
repair our drains and service our washers.

To those who maintain our parks,
watch over our streets,
respond to our emergency.

To each one who takes pride
in making their community
a better place.

Here is the backbone of our society. This is the core of what it means to contribute to the wellbeing of the masses. I honor them and millions of others today.

And if you – young, almost young, after young reader – are (still) aspiring to make a contribution as opposed to a splash, do not be daunted by the ordinary. Do not let your culture dictate what is worthy of your pursuit; never be deterred from your noble calling.

Let’s talk,

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