Why you’re feeling so hopelessly mediocre at the moment.

Have you ever felt more pathetically mediocre?

Your job (if you're lucky enough to have one) might feel like a slog. You might be in an office, or staff room, surrounded by people experiencing various degrees of suffering. You might feel exceptionally rundown, telling yourself you'll feel better next week, but now it's November and actually you don't feel much better at all.

Where did the zest go? The ambition? Didn't you used to have a fire in your belly? Can you even remember your New Year's resolution anymore? 

Socialising is still weird. People are weird. We're all trying our best in the worst circumstances. Energy comes in bursts and everyone asks questions and tells stories and then an hour later you feel like you've run a marathon and need to lie down for a day or two. 

It feels like our lives have no structure - not least because the foundations upon which they've been built are cracked and unstable.

Watch what life looked like in March. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia.

A year ago there were work hours and after work hours, weekends and (real) holidays. You might've seen your mum on a Monday, and your friends on a Friday night, and on Sunday you ordered takeaway. Our calendars, even though they felt frantic, were clear. Our lives had rhythm and momentum. 

But then all the things we thought we could rely on, like takeaway coffee, interstate travel, a place of employment, our local park, were taken from us. How do we plan for the future when we have absolutely no idea what the future might look like?

Which brings me to our overwhelming sense of mediocrity. 

The opposite of mediocrity is excellence. And how do we achieve excellence? 

Habits. Boring old habits. 

As American writer and philosopher Will Durant put it: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit."

It's no wonder we feel uninspired. Burnt out. Underachieving. Moody.


The habits many of us have fostered over a lifetime have been thrown out the window and it's really, really hard to get them back.

Almost half of what we do every day is out of habit. While we (hopefully) have (just) maintained brushing our teeth and having the odd shower, habits like eating, exercise, cleaning, the commute and work tasks have descended into utter chaos. It is taking an enormous amount of mental energy to try and put our lives back together again. 

Since March, our approach to just about everything has been haphazard. Our collective mantra has been just get through this year in one piece. 

It's a strange moment of cultural hypocrisy. Since we were born we've been on this treadmill that promises to deliver us to greatness. Our job is to be the best we can be. Find the thing we're exceptional at and work hard. We live in a culture of exceptionalism. Of aspiration. 

And now we're all floating in this lazy river of 2020's muck, being pulled in whatever direction the current takes us. We're tired and we're defeated. And whatever we're doing to fill our days, you'd better believe most of us are horribly mediocre at it.

Listen to the latest episode of Mamamia Out Loud where Mia, Holly and Jessie discuss why FOGO (the fear of going out) has replaced FOMO. Post continues after podcast. 

Katie Heaney wrote for The Cut a few months ago, "I Miss Having Ideas," and I think about it most days. 

"I haven’t had a single new idea since March. My productivity has never been more perfunctory," she writes. 

But she outlines, through speaking with various experts, that "stress has never been conducive to creativity". We're scared. Unsettled. Doom-scrolling past COVID-19 statistics, onto the US election, onto the fate of our planet. 

Our brains aren't feeling especially excited right now. 

We've been forced to face our mortality. With 1.2 million people dead from an infection that didn't exist a year ago, it's a reminder that we have far less control over our lives than we would like to believe. 

So maybe if our biggest achievement in 2020 is getting through it in one piece, we didn't do too badly. There is certainly some relief in knowing we're not the only ones feeling mediocre, waiting for the day when that fire in the belly returns. 

And in the meantime, we can try to finally return to our habits and find some order amongst the ceaseless chaos.

Feature Image: Getty.