I want to be different, just like everybody else. But not different like anybody else.
I just want to be unique, but not too unique. I want to stand out enough that I am memorable, but not so memorable that I become infamous.
I first noticed this phenomena when my sons started to become teenagers. I love teenagers. Just enough independence that they have a charmingly unique personality. But at the same time, often in the same instance, you want to kill them.
It was clear that, as my sons approached their teenage years, they worked hard at being different from me. They certainly didn’t want to be like their parents. My kids couldn’t imagine how we could have grown up without Nintendo. They were mortified to learn, in addition to not having a Nintendo, we didn’t have air conditioning, a VCR, cable, or a color TV. I would jokingly embellish that, when I was their age, dirt hadn’t even been invented yet.
My sons wanted to be unique. They wanted to prove they could be independent. They rebelled. They rebelled against their parents.
But they were, in my opinion, overly concerned with trying to fit in. Not with fitting in with the likes of their parents, but fitting in with their friends. They tried so hard to fit in with their friends it was humorous. They needed the right kind of pants, the correct brand of shoes, even the right knapsack.
It has dawned on me that I see this same phenomena in myself and most others, even well beyond my teenage years. It’s a little more subtle, but it’s there.
I want to be different like everyone else. I don’t want to be too fat, but not too skinny either. I want to be funny, but not so funny that I am not taken seriously, yet not so serious that I appear humorless. Funny, just not too funny. Sensitive, but not too sensitive.
I am walking a tightrope here. A tightrope of not too much of this, yet not too much of that. I’ve strung that tightrope across my shoulders. I believe if I put a sack at each end of the rope and fill the sack with one stone for each “not too much” characteristic, I won’t be able to walk.
Maybe that’s the problem.