Being ordinary…

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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.

74 thoughts on “Being ordinary…

  1. I like to think in terms of our uniqueness….like being a puzzle piece that is the only one that can fill a particular empty space. When my youngest was about three, I tried to get him to talk into a recorder so I could send it to my mother who lived far away. When I held up the microphone he scowled mutely. I encouraged him to say who he was and he looked panicky and remained silent. Suddenly, he blurted out, “I’m somebody! I’m somebody!” I think that is the cry of all our hearts.

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    1. The need to feel ourselves to be unique may not always be the best way… simply accepting that we each are unique, but part of that puzzle too, would be a good thing to teach our children 🙂

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  2. Lovely post Sue. These were my thoughts when I started my blog four years ago. I never knew I would find so much pleasure, release or enlightenment when I started, and it has become one of the best decisions I made.
    Everyone has a story to tell. Our lives intertwine regardless of our backgrounds and beliefs at one stage or another.
    It was one of the reasons we enjoyed the boating life………… everyone was different and interesting, and it didn’t matter if they had a rowing boat, cruiser, narrowboat or widebeam, we all had something in common, and that was being boat owners.
    I don’t know who said it, but I love the quote:
    To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is beauty and simplicity in leading ordinary lives which uplifts onlookers. It is worth sharing even if only to say there is joy and special moments in our everyday lives, Sue. 💐 Thank you for all these meaningful reminders.
    It may help someone else to start noticing the small parts of life that are absolutely stunning! Smiles, Robin

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  4. I always wonder why anyone reads the stuff I write. I have been told I write well, but lots of people write well — many a lot better than I do. Then I’m told to shut up and just say thank you. A warning that we should not be so humble that people want to clobber us with bats.

    This may sound a bit odd, but I have a not so sneaking suspicion that lives lived not so much “well” as with humor and a bit of grace are the best. They not only give great satisfaction to the “Live-er” but to everyone around him or her. Darkness may make for great novels, but humor and grace make for joy and laughter.

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  5. Yes… and in the ordinary comes something else. Every ‘ordinary’ person has something special and remarkable about them. If only we could appreciate how precious and unique every single one of us is – maybe we would be kinder…

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  6. I have always thought that our lives are lived in stories – our own and those of our friends and neighbors. I am fascinated by tales of the experiences as backdrops to the thoughts and opinions of others. I believe that is another reason why we love to read – and why ‘small talk’ is generally dissatisfying. Bloggers also love to read About pages.

    Your post brought to mind the Wilder play ‘Our Town’ (first performed in 1938, and revived all over America probably thousands of times since, if you count the Little Theatre and school productions).

    After her death, when given a chance to go back to her “ordinary” town of Grovers Corners to relive any day of her choosing, Emily is urged to “pick an ordinary day – that will be extraordinary enough.” Bittersweet. I was young when I first read it, and played Emily when I was still in High School. It greatly influenced how I’ve lived my life.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are many days I would not wih to revisit, but the ‘ordinary’ days often hold the most meaning, if we look at what they do hold… the small details of friendship, companionship, warmth and so many tiny things we take for granted. xx

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  7. Lovely Sue. I think ‘being ordinary is the greatest gift a writer can have, it means you have a way into the the vast majority on this planet who are ‘ordinary’ too’ and as a writer you can you a common bond of ‘ordinary’ language to create extraordinary ideas

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  8. I heartily agree, Sue! I think of myself as ordinary far more than I should. The truth is we all make the world a brighter place. I enjoy reading your blog and I find the places you go exciting and fresh! Here’s to being who we are, and letting our lights shine!

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  9. Very true words in the last sentence, Sue. I spent most of my life trying to be ordinary, to fit in with the “normals”, I just couldn’t and didn’t realise that I was dyspraxic until around three years ago. I gave up trying to fit in years ago and accepted me as I was.

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  10. I agree 100% that all human beings are special and have something to offer their fellow man. I’m sad though that those who have a talent for pretending to be someone they are not, or who can kick a ball well or keep in tune are revered above us ‘ordinary’ folk. I wish there was more balance and interest in those not in the limelight but who probably have so much more to offer.

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  11. I’ve written about this before. Ordinary vs extraordinary… Being unique not necessarily special. And what’s wrong with ordinary anyway? We’re all unique. (As far as self-deprecating, that’s something I need to work on.) Beautiful post. ❤

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  12. I suspect, Sue, that most of the people you know are not ordinary at all. People who have high moral and ethical ideals and who fight for what is right, in whatever way, are not ordinary. Visiting places and spending money doesn’t make you extraordinary. It is how you get there and what you do when you are there that counts.

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