Monday, January 7, 2013

The Mean Average

Back in the day when Bo Derek was a "10," some guy told me I was a "round 5."  As you can see, I've never forgotten it!  There is nothing like being told you're "average."

I read an article once that asked people to rate themselves as a person, and almost everyone rated themselves "above average."  I had to agree.  If someone had asked me that question, my first response would have been above average.  But after reading the stats, I started thinking about just how average I am.  I'm of average intelligence.  I'd like to think I'm smart because I used to be on the honor roll and took AP classes and got college credit for two of them while still in high school.  But I ended up never finishing college (got married after my third year), so I don't even have a degree, just a little bit of post-secondary---so average.  Sometimes when I'm all dressed up I think I'm pretty.  But when I see a gorgeous woman with long legs, beautiful smile, huge eyes, full lips and long, silky hair, I know I'm average.  Then there's talent.  I feel like I accomplish a lot and do well at what I attempt...but I've never been on TV or written a book.  My calendar isn't full of speaking engagements. I don't get asked for my autograph.  No one says, "Did you know that my friend is Karyn Wells' neighbor?  All the things I can do, someone else can do a lot better.  I'm average.  Even when it comes to ministry sometimes I think I'm a pretty good pastor...and then I'm reminded (or humbled!).  I have a little church in a little town.  Even in my own city most people don't even know we exist.  Average again.

And then there was today...

I went for a fitness orientation at the gym I just joined.  It was an hour-long session with a personal trainer with huge pecs and biceps, and calves as thick as my thighs (but not jiggly!).  He was very kind and never embarrassed me in any way, and I don't really think I embarrassed myself either.  But when my hour was done, I certainly felt my age and my fitness level (or lack thereof).  I did everything I was told...I planked, I lifted the medicine ball, I balanced on a board, I hung from elastic bands, I sat Indian-style on the floor (I was told many people can't), I bounced a ball against the wall.  I was very relieved that I was able to do everything I was asked.  But relief comes because first there was worry.  And for there to be worry, there had to first be realization.  Realization of what?  That I'm not as fit as I think I am.  When I was running every day and doing Zumba here and there, I felt like I was in pretty good shape...running is solitary, no one to compare yourself to.  Zumba is a bunch of average women like me, and I am more coordinated than a lot of them.  But here in the gym, next to my first-ever personal trainer and facing all these fitness contraptions of bars, balls, boards, beams, bands and benches, I knew I was average.  Still, I could soothe myself with the thought that I was the mother of 4 children and (ahem)...middle-aged.

And that's when he pulled out the calipers.  You know...those little fat pinchers that tell you your body composition.  Four pinches in about 10 seconds---the skin over the biceps, the triceps, the shoulder blade and the hip---and it was all over.  The caliper beeped my score...27.9.  He pulled out the chart and showed me where I landed: 27 to 35 was AVERAGE.  20 to 26 was DESIREABLE.  I went home and said to Jeff, "I'm sorry to tell you that you do not have a desireable wife, just an average one."

And that about sums it up.  That's why we hate the word doesn't really mean average, normal, or ordinary.  It means undesireable.  We all want to be desired...whether that be our beauty, our wisdom, our wit, our skills.  But sad to say, although we all rate ourselves as "above average," we really are just, average.  The scientists with PhDs, the rock stars, the billionaires, the big league, the mega-church televangelist, the Nobel prize winners....they are the desireables.  It's when I compare my "above average" view of myself against the reality of them and all they've accomplished that I realize how truly average I am.

{Side Note:  I think this is a big reason I dislike the word, "amazing."  As in, "She is amazing."  "My amazing friend."  "Babe, you're amazing."  "Oh, you have to meet them...they're amazing."  I always think to myself, "There really aren't that many amazing people out there.  Your friend is nice, I'm sure.  But she's not amazing or we'd all know it."}

Anyway, as my amazing brother-in-law noted (and he really is amazingly smart!), there are some things in life that are better when they are your blood count, blood pressure, weight, height (I'm below average in that category!!), blood sugar, and mood (don't want to be hyper or depressed!).

Who wants to be too much or too little?  I want to be just enough.  So I'm embracing the mean average.  It should get the job done and done well, without all the stress of being rich, famous, beautiful, talented and genius!


  1. Very well said. This does put me in the catagory of below average. While reading this, I did feel a bit down, as my abilities are not much...(no talents, over weight, didn't go to college, not tall, no engagements..etc)BUT, BUT,
    "Greater is He that is in me, then he that is in the world." That puts me way above average, because of HIM. My life is full, and my desire is to please the ONE who made me.
    So Karyn, you too, are above average, because of Jesus. Love you, Sasa

  2. Just because you are not on tv or haven't written a book doesn't mean you are average. I think it means you are above average because of all the "amazing" things you do while still caring for your household and working. People who are on tv wanted to get there and were in the right place at the right time. Whenever I read your blog I am "amazed" at the level of effort, sophistication, and organization you have. Every year an Edmonton magazine publishes the Top 40 under 40 list...people who nominate themselves so the entire city can see what their great accomplishments are. I think its a reflection of our society that you have a to be a Type A 'overachiever' to really be a success. But God makes us each with unique gifts to touch the people in our world...whether that's a small town church or a Food Network show. Guess what, I am happy to say I know Karyn Wells!

  3. Liesel, that is just about the nicest comment ever! Thanks for reading and sharing...and enriching the lives of, me!!