The Agony Of Unique

During a training session I’m attending this week, the instructor asked each of us to introduce ourselves and to share something unique about ourselves. For the first time in my life, I had no unique qualities to report. I simply said “there’s nothing really unique about me” to relieve the pressure of the moment. Then the spotlight moved to someone else.

Strangely, this seemed to be the most honest and correct answer. I’m suddenly SO OVER being unique.

 At some point during my early years in school, I embraced uniqueness as a defense mechanism against “coolness” (which was conformist), blandness (which is a far too easy and prevalent trap) and studiousness (which was, for me, impossible). Over the years it became my creed, as an outside-the-system kind of guy in school and an outside-the-box kind of thinker in the workplace. But while the concept of “unique” is fine on a personal level, it doesn’t really stir much reverence in general society.

One man’s uniqueness can be another man’s ho-hum. So why should I spout off about it to co-workers and pretend that it matters to anyone? If I had climbed Mount Everest blindfolded, or stowed away on a space shuttle flight, or resurrected a long-frozen wooly mammoth with a hair dryer and a car battery–well, then I might have spoken up.

Being truly unique is a lot of work. And while it was a perfectly reasonable goal when I was younger, now it hardly matters in the least. Perhaps this is part of being a parent. It’s now up to my kids to be unique, while I become the dad who isn’t supposed to be too freaky lest I risk embarrassing the girls in front of their friends.

I guess the most unique thing about me these days is that I just want to be as non-unique as possible and go relatively unnoticed. A true “behind the scenes” sort of character.

So why am I spilling all this out in a public blog? 🙂


One Response

  1. There is one small unique quality that you’ve overlooked – you’re married to me. 🙂

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