Ordinary lives are undervalued.
I think, the world promotes extravagant, “big” lives, which are glitzy, flashy, dramatic, or provocative. But, few songs are written about getting gas station coffee before a road trip to the small town where your cousin lives. Not a lot of play is given to waking up tired and taking your dog out to go to the bathroom. I can’t think of a lot of shows about forgetting to do the laundry and realizing you don’t know how to fix that part of the house or apartment that has fallen into disrepair when you’ve only got a few minutes to get to work.
Yet, it’s the messy chaos of ordinary lives that look so great in the rear-view. When I think back on my best memories, they are rarely planned moments executed perfectly. They are warm and fuzzy recollections of events that sprang up like weeds that bore the freshest fruit you’ve ever tasted.
Impromptu disasters can lead to courage, strength, and wisdom you didn’t possess before.
Ordinary lives are full of unexpected, unreasonable hits. Ordinary people find ways to keep going after those hits. Ordinary people are powerful like that and ordinary lives are magical like that.
Within ordinary lives, multitudes abound.
Highs, lows, triumphs, failures, and many pristine little moments like ponds along a steep hike.
The key for me is to choose to keep going. To keep climbing, despite the weather, the distance, and what’s behind you. Cause you can’t control the weather or what was back there, and the distance keeps growing shorter with each step.
There’s a lot you can’t choose in life. There’s some stuff you can. Choose and choose and choose again to keep going, to try again, to get back up, and to keep trying to try, trying to hope, trying to love, and trying to see good in the world. Never stop trying.
And when I think about going to the lake with my Uncle or road-tripping to the Jersey shore with my folks or playing video games with my friends in the middle of summer in my un-air-conditioned room, I bask in those feelings and memories. When I think about the Festa downtown with the fair atmosphere–rides, games, and all–and the smell of fried food and pasta sauce permeating everywhere, I curl up right there in those thoughts.
I remember a crisp fall day in Syracuse wrangling sheep and goats with my best friend and his soon-to-be fiancée on the hill beside the town brewery. I remember rushing through the gates at Wrigley on the Fourth of July, driving across the heartland, and sticking my toes in the foam of the Pacific with the love of my life. I remember asking her to marry me on a bridge in the city where we met.
Memories kaleidoscope around my head when I reflect on ordinary happiness. And all those big and little moments are guideposts towards the life I want, the person I want to be, and the people I want to be around.
And I am trying to focus on creating more ordinary moments of joy and less on what ‘other people’–who are rarely flesh-and-blood people who care about you and more likely are only the implications of a thousand headlines, hashtags, and angry talking heads–suggest are important.
Cause ordinary people live ordinary lives and don’t mind the noise emanating from everyone else in the whole wide world. And that’s profound power.