So what the heck does the name of this column refer to, anyway? Some seem to think it means mediocre, and have told me this column is anything but, which is kind and lovely to hear. However, there was an idea that inspired it. It’s actually an homage to a song by Chrissy Hynde and the Pretenders about being in the middle of life, and how life looks from that perspective. I thought it was appropriate, so I borrowed it. The cute little graphic is my co-worker Brett’s caricature of me, literally in the middle of the road. Nice, huh?
This column is about being in the middle of life and having a strange perspective on things, which I have always had. I’m not sure if it’s because I am a creative or just had unusual experiences, but I have always looked at things from places most people never consider. Sometimes it’s a problem, and has gotten me into trouble more than once or twice. In fact, I enjoy a good discussion, even what some would call an argument, much more than I do small talk. That’s actually a little difficult for me – it’s a lot like work. I guess I want my conversations to go somewhere, to have a purpose, and chatting doesn’t seem to have much of a purpose. As I get older though, I find that chatting does serve a purpose, and I’m getting better at it.
Having a strange point of view can be fun, but sometimes it can cause problems. Many times people take adversity in a conversation personally, and assume I am attacking them and their stance on the subject when I am only trying to shine a light on a part of the conversation that would make it a whole lot more interesting to talk about. I mean, you can’t really make decisions about something nor have an opinion about it if someone doesn’t test you on it occasionally, I figure.
What I say will either make you absolutely sure you feel right about where you stand, or make you consider that maybe there are some gray areas that need to be thought about a little differently. Nothing is ever black or white, but we have a tendency to be lazy and want to see things that way. And I really don’t like lazy a whole lot, physically or intellectually.
I have always enjoyed not partaking in social norms, and never understood why I need to. I have lost count of how many times I have heard, “Oh Paula, will you just GROW UP?” My usual answer, always with a sly smile, was that I didn’t plan to. And so far, I am doing pretty good with that. I think it’s important to have a playfulness, to preserve a child-like quality of silliness and wonder. I think it keeps life fun and interesting. Besides, having a child-like point of view can be a wonderful thing. It can actually keep one young.
A friend of mine once asked me how I keep my youthful outlook on life, and my answer was “Denial.” She looked at me oddly and I told her that I still feel like I am 18 in my head and although my body tends to remind me once in awhile that I am not, I simply ignore it. I don’t pay much attention to how old I am or what other people “my age” are doing. I do what moves me without thinking if it’s age-appropriate or not. I don’t let that stop me for a second. Sometimes I wonder if people get old because they see others doing it and feel it’s somehow necessary. If you are one of those people, stop that! Stop it right now. Life is too short to get old.