A teenage Facebook friend recently wrote that she doesn’t think there’s anything worse than being ordinary. My immediate impulse was to post a comment, but I exercised restraint – restraint born out of the same maturity from which these thoughts derive. She will live and learn. My task is to be her friend, not her teacher.
When I was in my teens through twenties, I also thought that being ordinary was pretty terrible. I wanted to be special in important ways – like being smart, exhibiting leadership and multitasking in high profile venues. I cared about being noticed and better yet, admired.
I imagined being a standout in appearance, achievements and attitude. I wanted my clothes to demonstrate my good taste, my dinner parties to signify the hostess with the mostest, and my sales numbers to crush the competition. Being ordinary meant just getting by and fading into the crowd. I wanted to be special and all the baggage that entails.
After four decades of adulthood, I have a different appreciation for the ordinary and a desire to be present to each precious moment of life without expectation. Today, I want to notice the lives of the people around me. They count in ways uncomprehended in my youth. I welcome their stories, the pain as well as the joy. I want to be the hands that clean up messes and serve the evening meal. I want to inhabit each day and each emotion, decision and action. Life is ordinary. Ordinary is life.