The Mediocrity of Life

How mediocre tolerances have kept me from thriving.

Stacy Belinsky
Jun 1 · 7 min read
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

This song has been playing in my head lately…

Fixing a Hole

By The Beatles

I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go

I’m filling the cracks that ran through the door
And kept my mind from wandering
Where it will go

And it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong I’m right
Where I belong I’m right
Where I belong.

See the people standing there who disagree and never win
And wonder why they don’t get in my door
I’m painting my room in the colourful way

And when my mind is wandering
There I will go
And it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong I’m right
Where I belong I’m right
Where I belong.

Silly people…

How do you measure or decide if you are living your best life?

If I had to decide on my own, I might not have a reason to change anything.

I might have stayed married. I’d probably weigh a lot more and look like a stereotypical version of my age.

I also know now that I would be miserable if I had stayed on that path.

What I have thought about lately is how much I tolerate.


Photo by Christian Fickinger on Unsplash

It may seem silly. I have worn a lot of socks with holes. They aren’t items I think about fixing. Usually I notice the hole while wearing the socks. Then they go in the dirty laundry pile, and I forget until the next time.

I know I’m not the only one. A mom stopped her daughter once from making a comment. It turned out someone in their family did the same.

Today, as I went through my socks, I decided to change and make piles:

  • Socks I didn’t want and could be given away
  • Socks I didn’t want with holes or a missing twin
  • Socks to fix or keep

The ones to keep fit well in my dresser drawer. Anything that can be fixed I put with other items to fix. It feels organized instead of overwhelming.

I already feel much better.

It took a long time to get here. Why does it seem such a challenge to take time and do this throughout the week?

Environment Cleanliness

Photo by Mark Hang Fung So on Unsplash

I have found the environment more challenging. Plus, I see it in two parts.

First is cleanliness, which includes clutter.

The clutter part seems to go in waves. If I am at home and make time for chores, I keep up with removing extra clutter. Since I do have a lot to downsize, as long as I can work in the space, it’s ok.

Similar to the socks, sometimes the challenge is making the time.

As soon as I get distracted or I don’t feel well, I am off course.

I have to remember what worked and start over.

Here, I am referring to the clutter.

Cleanliness is a different story.

Growing up, I was surrounded by cleanliness.

My mom seemed to clean the house daily.

My (paternal) grandmother put the garbage out as soon as something was in it. My grandmother also hired my brother to clean what she couldn’t do anymore, like all of the dishes in the china cabinet.

When my grandmother still lived in her house, my dad would say you could eat off the basement floor.

Although my mom wasn’t as intense as my grandmother, maybe it turned me off to some of the cleaning. I liked the feeling of a “lived in” space.

On regular days, I felt most comfortable in my room. Other than the times with company, I could keep my room how I wanted to keep it.

While married, my ex-husband would direct the spring cleaning days — light fixtures, ceiling fans, window sills, etc. He had good points. At the same time, it always felt rough.

He would come up with places to clean that I didn’t notice until pointed out.

Some of that is the way I see — I can’t always tell when I am wearing dirty glasses, for example.

If I am not in an area with bright outdoor lighting, I have to think to look at my glasses and clean them.

It would follow that I need to take the time to look up and around my apartment for places I do not clean regularly (and make sure to have the lights on).

Almost a month ago, a friend moved into an apartment downstairs. She cleaned for the same reasons I will clear clutter — it’s more comfortable to be in the room.

My friend mentioned cleaning the basement. I actually like that task and used to willingly do that growing up.

I couldn’t have done it with previous neighbors because they had a lot of stuff in the basement.

Now the basement is emptier, and my friend mentioned it first. I stated that I would help with that. All three of us in the house may end up cleaning.

I don’t plan to clean so I can eat off the floor. That will always stay as my grandmother’s thing.

It would be a relief to clean and do it as a team.

People in the Environment

Photo by Timon Studler on Unsplash

The people who are around you have an effect. It is challenging to keep on your path despite who is surrounding you.

In my view, if people are going to be challenging, I want it to be because there is growth. I want it to be because together, we are making our lives, and the lives of others around us, better.

My tolerance has not consistently had that high of a standard which would match what I want.

For example, I’ve been around a group with a varying tolerance for cleanliness, and it is apparent.

It’s more than cleanliness. It’s about satisfaction with life. How we help ourselves and how we help others grow.

Being judgmental is easy. Expectations that we’re all in the same place and have been taught the same are incorrect.

If you think “That’s just the way it is,” then you are not taking responsibility to provide feedback or make people accountable.

A portion of the group discusses having more social engagement among the full group. In my opinion, a good way to test if a desire exists is to talk to people — at least learn their names, say “hi,” and ask what they are working on.

If they shrug their shoulders and blow you off, then they are probably being choosy on company. You are not a part of their choice, and therefore not a part of their version of the full community. (see note about being judgmental).

If they answer and don’t return the question, they may not care about others’ (or, at least, your) projects. They may be interested and not have time. Or maybe they may have better manners than those who shrug their shoulders and are giving you “lip service” and tolerating you for the moment.

If you get teased about these ideas and “Kumbaya,” then most likely the social community is not important to the majority and needs to grow organically.

The fact that I could point this out (again) would most likely be ignored, circling back to judgment and an unwillingness to help or listen.

Why do I stick around? There are and have been phenomenal moments where I HAVE felt a part of the community, where I AM learning new things, and where I am being taught better behavior. In short, I have made friends and feel like I have contributed to the community at-large.

The challenge is that this has not been enough. As I look around the area to broaden my interactions, I still find the challenge on a larger scale.

It seems to be an expectation to tolerate how it is instead of changing to what could be.

I have to go a long way to find examples of where I want to be. Most of the time, examples are in books or podcasts, not in people I know.

Most of the time, people I know will tell you where they are and how great it is without providing the path or support. I don’t always know what exists. Information that accelerates the path could be a reason to change efforts.

We have to be on the same team to do this. We have to be willing to clean the basement together.

Surviving in life is not fulfilling.

Thriving in life — with food, shelter, friendship and community — is where I want to be.

The sock can be fixed or the sock can be replaced. Wearing socks with holes does not have to be an option.

Are you surviving or thriving?

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Journal of Journeys

Each of us are the narrators of our own unique stories, dramas and sagas. Journal of Journeys is a publication that takes pride in helping share those stories.

Stacy Belinsky

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Working to make the world better through writing, psychology, and entrepreneurship

Journal of Journeys

Each of us are the narrators of our own unique stories, dramas and sagas. Journal of Journeys is a publication that takes pride in helping share those stories.