Celebrating the Ordinary
I admit. I’m boring and I love doing boring and ordinary things. I love quietness, contemplation, and good stories. I have no desire to climb mountains, skydive, or run marathons.
Most of my time is spent doing what’s perceived as unremarkable and unworthy of sharing. To me though, it’s my world. It’s where I like to be.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this: Go do amazing things and then share them with the world. Have experiences that are worth talking about. I’m all for it if it’s what you truly desire. And …
You get to define for yourself what’s extraordinary and amazing. But even the most mind-blowing experience won’t last forever.
Delusions of substance
In today’s world of hype and attention grabbing, there is so much noise, visual and mental clutter, and hunger to be noticed—by anyone.
Most of the things that sound and look amazing on the surface fade from our memories taking with them precious time and fragments of our attention.
Today I invite you to take a step back. Don’t chase the new and shiny, the exciting and unusual. Instead look into all the things you deem ordinary, boring, or mundane.
- What are the things that you see, hear, smell, taste, or touch every day that seem ordinary to you?
- Have they always felt that way?
- Who are the people you interact with every day? It can be your spouse, kids, neighbors, family, or coworkers.
- Do you see these interactions as ordinary? And have they always been that way?
- Can you think of anyone in the world today who would love to have your ordinary life?
“How we take it for granted – those trivial conversations; those mundane moments that we think hold no meaning. We never realize how much we rely on the ordinariness of everyday life. When love is gone – when our entire world is gone – only then do we understand those moments are what we live for.” ~Dianna Hardy, Cry Of The Wolf
The annoying bird
One day I was walking around the property with a neighbor. It was a beautiful day, just after sunset, and we heard a bird chirping melodically and rhythmically over, and over, and over. Within a minute or so my neighbor said “when is that thing going to shut up? I need some peace and quiet”.
For me I was grateful to be able to hear the songs of nature. I’d rather experience that than the sound of explosions, bombs, and fighter jets. I felt grateful that there are still birds hanging out in my neighborhood.
Two people, same experience, but completely different interpretations.
My neighbor grew up locally and is quite accustomed to birds. I, on the other hand, didn’t. To her it’s not only ordinary, but it’s irritating. To me it’s amazing, but as I get more accustomed to it, I need to remind myself of what it felt like to hear the bird for the first time.
There is beauty and magic in the ordinary everywhere—if we look … truly look.
It’s fairly easy to be swept away by the waves of excitement of the unusual. So it’s much harder to _remember _to appreciate the ordinary.
I’m trying to remind myself every single day of how good fresh coffee smells in the morning, how awesome it is to spend my morning on my own terms, and how blessed I am to spend most of my time with the people I care about.
The transient extraordinary
There isn’t one person on this planet who hasn’t dealt with significant events in his or her life.
The highest achievements and the most painful of experiences tend to fade over time, leaving behind a few emotional imprints and scars.
And if we harness a new remarkable skill, over time it becomes exceedingly familiar and ordinary.
So whatever we perceive as remarkable in this moment, will not be so in the not so distant future.
The power of ordinary
There are significant moments of celebration and mourning. But the space in between is filled with ordinary moments.
Our lives are mostly the sum of those ordinary moments, and there is nothing ordinary about that.
Every single thing in existence can be seen as amazing. No two breaths are alike, no two moments are identical, and no interactions are the exact same.
The fleeting nature of every experience or occurrence makes it all the more remarkable and the unusual part of life that it is.
“Be ordinary, but bring a quality of awareness to your ordinary life. … Sleep, eat, love, pray, meditate, but don’t think that you are making or doing something special—and then you will be special.” ~Osho
The things we view as ordinary are the things we take for granted. And most of the time, these are the things that shape our lives.
The countless gifts of life—from mobility, bodily functions, and the senses, to awareness and choice—cannot be bought or bragged about. They are free and may appear ordinary. But they are the most worthy of celebration and appreciation.
The people who surround us and choose to share their lives with us are the ones we need to honor and appreciate more than any adventure or achievement.
The smile of a loving spouse, the tears of a disappointed child, laughter, shared meals, and silly memories may be ordinary. Yet they’re the most grounding and enlivening.
And when all is said and done, the mere act of being is the most remarkable thing to be grateful for.
Today let’s celebrate boringness and ordinariness. Because when we do, we start seeing life for what it truly is—amazing and awe inspiring as it is.
“It occurred to me that if I were a ghost, this ambiance was what I’d miss most: the ordinary, day-to-day bustle of the living. Ghosts long, I’m sure, for the stupidest, most unremarkable things.” ~Banana Yoshimoto, The Lake