At Heathrow airport the other evening, I tried on a pair of sunglasses. Nice, I thought, interesting looking, but, but I wasn’t quite sure. So I whipped out my phone, snapped myself in the mirror, and sent off the picture to my children. What do you think, I asked?
“Ahh ok…“ my daughter replied. Then a second later, “Actually, they’re underwhelming.”
Underwhelming? I looked in the mirror. Brilliant, I smiled. She’s absolutely spot on – they’re nice but don’t make the final cut. I walked away, but “underwhelmed” – the word (first used in 1934), the feeling, the notion, the idea stayed with me.
Isn’t most of life just plain underwhelming? Stop the grandiose generalisations, I told myself! Ok let’s nitpick, break it down to just one finite day – what, if anything, underwhelmed me today?
Hmm… my first day back at the office after a trip of two solid weeks, problems popped up a plenty. But today, after the break, my standpoint was different. My sass, my shrieking humour, my sense of irony took centre stage – hello, I kept thinking – the same old, same old issues again!
No overwhelment today. Underwhelment, my decided strategy. Merriment, tongue-in-cheek audacity, the general trivialising of silly dilemmas felt good, really good.