Why would anyone want to read about me?
It is a question I ask myself… one amongst many as I write snapshots from my daily life and memories from my past, as I share opinions and beliefs, the small adventures, the human fears… I can sort of understand the interest in the places I manage to visit, the old customs and stories of mysterious sites. I can understand the occasional flash of humour. But come on, says the niggling little voice, a nobody from nowhere… aren’t you just kidding yourself? Who wants to read about your fears and foibles, your little successes? Why should you be of any interest to anyone? You’re ordinary.
Maybe that’s the point. I am ordinary. My kind of ordinary… because it is the only kind I know. Other people are extraordinary in my eyes. They do things I have never done, achieve things I have never even attempted, go places I will never go. I look at those who have done these marvellous things, not with envy, but with both respect and appreciation.
My sons have, in all likelihood, seen far more of the world than I ever shall. They have jumped out of planes and flown them, stroked wolves, fed tigers and ridden elephants. That’s extraordinary to me. Particularly when you consider that one of them is in a wheelchair.
I number amongst my friends a good many with stories just as unusual. My address book holds the names of the famous alongside those whose lives are lived in quiet obscurity but who command no less respect; people whose lives I find extraordinary for many reasons. There are teachers and artists, musicians and parents, writers and carers… with some it is art, with some skill, and some the simplicity of a heart that shines in all they do, even the little things of the humdrum, ordinary world. They are the extraordinary people to me.
Yet, to a man…or woman… they would all say, if asked, that they too live ordinary lives. Even the famous would only admit their circumstances to be a little different from the norm. They may recognise that they have a talent that is unusual… but will themselves look at the talents of others with respect. But however unusual their lifestyles may seem from the outside looking in, from the inside looking out these are their normal lives. Ordinary. Few see the impact one life may make upon another. Few realise they are extraordinary, because to them they are simply being themselves, living their daily life as best they can.
And I wonder sometimes what right any of us have to judge ourselves as ‘ordinary’ in that self-deprecating tone that usually goes with it. Somehow or other the word has become almost an insult… as if normality is to be avoided or is seen as less than good. As if we feel a need to excel and be more than ordinary. As if being uniquely ourselves, one amongst billions isn’t extraordinary enough.
Perhaps living ordinary lives the best we can is what makes people extraordinary. There is a beauty in that.