Is simply being parent, a spouse, and a sibling good enough?
The other day I was scrolling through Facebook while I ate breakfast. I had just come home from my morning workout camps, which were small (as always) but special (as always). The kids were at school, and I was planning to spend my day catching up on work and laundry before picking them up and diving into homework, projects, and dinnertime. But just then, at that moment, I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself.
Building a camp is hard work, and it can be demoralizing at times. It’s especially hard when I see other trainers post pictures of their camps and there are 20, 30, 60 people there compared to my 8 (on a good day). Even though I know all the things — like how they’ve been doing this for years, how it will take time, how I’ll get there — it can still be a bitter pill to swallow.
As I was finishing my eggs, I came across this post at No Sidebar that was so honest that it almost broke my heart:
What if I never really amount to anything when I grow up — beyond mom and sister and wife? But these people in my primary circle of impact know they are loved and I would choose them again, given the choice. Can this be enough?
What if I never build an orphanage in Africa but send bags of groceries to people here and there and support a couple of kids through sponsorship? What if I just offer the small gifts I have to the world and let that be enough?
If one of my friends — or even a total stranger — said those words to me, I know exactly what I would say. I would say, “This is not a mediocre life. There is nothing mediocre in loving your family and friends, and giving generously to others. That’s not a mediocre life — that’s an extraordinary life. That’s the kind of life that makes the world a better, brighter, and more beautiful place.”
I wouldn’t just say that to make her feel better, either. I would mean it., because it’s true.
So if I would say that to a stranger, why wouldn’t I say this to myself?
Here’s the thing — I believe in what I do. I love being a personal trainer because I’ve experienced the life-changing benefits of physical activity. It goes way, way beyond looking good in a bathing suit … in fact, the biggest benefits I’ve experienced from transforming my physical health have been mental and emotional. I’ve built physical strength, sure, but what’s changed my life is the grit, resilience, and confidence that have grown with every hour of hard work.
I want to inspire that kind of change in other people, and that’s hard to do 60 people at a time. For me, right now, 8 is the perfect number. I can impact 8 lives one hour at a time, and still have time to care about the lives that matter most to me … the little ones that are nearest and dearest to my heart. It’s not a glamorous life, but it’s also not a mediocre life. It’s a great life, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
So if you’ve ever caught yourself thinking you live a mediocre life, stop right there. The people who love you, whose lives are changed by yours, would not be who they are without you. And that is the farthest thing from mediocre — it’s extraordinary.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?