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It’s Okay

A few months ago, I signed up for The Listserve, a service where you agree to receive a daily e-mail from a random stranger in exchange for the possibility to write your own e-mail at some point. Right now, the list of people signed up is at about 20,000, but it’s growing each day.

While some of the e-mails are a colossal waste of time, many of them are poignant and insightful. In fact, I found today’s to be simple, yet unexpectedly profound. Here it is, from Jazmin in Guelph, Ontario.


I thought long and hard, perhaps just long, about what to write. And of course I procrastinated to the point where I almost wondered if I’d missed my window to write to the list. You sign up, and you know intellectually that someday you’ll have to write to everyone, but you figure it will be ages away. You’ll have time to think of something.

And then it appears in your inbox asking to speak to hundreds of people. Some of whom will read and smile. And some of whom will think you’re a blithering idiot. And some will think you have something interesting to say. And some will delete it without reading. And some won’t understand.

And it’s okay.

It’s okay not to be read. It’s okay not to have everything work out as you planned. It’s okay not to be liked by everyone.

It’s okay. It’s okay to be ordinary and not one of the ones winning awards and being on the news and doing Great Things ™.

I’m only about a week away from turning 40 years old. An age that sits solidly in what most consider middle age. Ancient to the 20 somethings and younger, in the prime of life to those already there and past. I’m not concerned with getting older. I enjoy the experience, the knowledge, the gift of being able to say that I’m closer to a half century of existence than not.

But I haven’t done anything spectacular. I haven’t devoted my life to curing childhood cancer. I’m not a famous politician or entertainer. I’m not a stunning businessman or scientist. I’m just fairly ordinary.

And that’s okay.

I have a calm life, one that is creative and interesting. One that doesn’t make for a good answer to that question of ‘what’s new?’ or ‘what do you do?’ at parties, but one that leaves me generally content.

And that’s okay.

So dream big, Do All The Things, but it’s /okay/ if that Big Dream is something little and not earth shattering. There’s nothing wrong with content.

Take good care of yourself, and remember that Life is Good.