The American way is to “never settle for less,” accept “nothing but the best,” and never “sell yourself short.” The American dream is built on the idea of high expectations and hard work. It’s a beautiful concept upon which dreams have been built and visions realized. After all, “you deserve the best,” don’t you?
Unfortunately this wonderful notion transforms into venom when applied to our self-image. Cosmetic surgeries are a reasonable effort toward a worthy goal, cosmetic aisles and beauty supply shops explode with products promising a bigger (or smaller) and better you, and hundreds of fashion magazines provide the right tips to make all this perfection possible—which of course, you are entitled to. Physical perfection has become a rational expectation. Which makes sense because you wouldn’t want to be “anything less than perfect”, or would you?
Here is my radical proposal:
A more fulfilling life awaits those willing to accept their appearances as mediocre.
The mantra to this theory goes like this, “I’m a seven, and that’s ok.”A seven on the scale of one to ten is two points better than average, and three points away from perfect. It’s a passing grade with a little wiggle room. Nothing to be ashamed of, yet nothing too special. It’s OK.
Everyone knows a seven. Sevens are healthy, hygienic, and happy. Sevens seem to always be occupied in a worthwhile activity. They compliment others, even the nines and tens, without feeling inferior. Like anyone else, they appreciate pretty things, enjoying the occasional dress-up night. Sevens spend time getting ready each morning and then move on, not checking themselves in the mirror or maintaining regular touchups. Sevens don’t concern themselves with how other people look or what other people are wearing. They are busy laughing at a joke, working hard on a project, or listening to a friend. Sevens are considered pretty in many eyes, but don’t turn heads. And they don’t mind.
Being “okay” as it turns out, is much better than okay. In fact there are many benefits to being a seven. Sevens are pretty in their own right, but they are removed from the elite class of attractive human beings competing for the top spot. If you are just okay at soccer, then you don’t have to worry about making it to the championship. You just get to enjoy the game.
A lot of time is wasted in the pursuit of beauty. Hours are spent staring into the mirror, analyzing every contour of your face as if it’s a mathematical formula on the verge of perfection if you could just solve the missing pieces. Obsessive thoughts strive to decipher who wins best looking in a group as if you’re casting your vote in a presidential election. A seven’s indifference with her rank of attraction seems to improve her rank consequently. A seven is free from the exhausting and consuming pursuit of beauty and is free to enjoy more rewarding endeavors.
One day we will all turn 50 and wonder if the things we spent our time focused on turned out to be entirely useless. Let’s be honest, at 50, there is only so much you can do to be “hot,” it’s enough to hope you are healthy. Why do we allow ourselves to fixate on the fleeting accomplishment of beauty?
A wise woman said the following:
I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived. –Marjorie Hinckley
That sounds like a quality life to me. It sounds like a lucky seven.