Tuesday, 14 January 2014

There's nothing wrong with an ordinary life

I loved this video when I saw it. And when I watched it again, I still thought it was good but I’m a little bit over the implication that we must all be doing something more with our lives. I'm over my newsfeed being flooded with non-inspirational quotes like:

What is wrong with living an ordinary life?

There is nothing extraordinary about my life. If I go by family history I’m almost exactly middle-aged. I’m married to a nice man with whom I have had two healthy children who share a bedroom and walk to school. We eat home almost every night. We live in a beautiful home which we owe a mortgage on so have very little spare cash to travel which means our holidays are almost always local. We own two average cars, quarrel with our extended family and have at least one piece of Ikea in every room of the house. We raise money for charity, we recycle, we grow our own veggies and we never have enough sleep. 

At least once a month I despair that I have nothing to wear and my husband threatens to give away the kids toys that they’ve left outside overnight. We rarely go to concerts or new restaurants but have friends over regularly. We aim for a couple of alcohol-free days a week and I choose to accept my body for what it is rather than hit the workout circuit. My boys exclaim ‘that’s not fair!’ about something totally fair almost every day and still struggle to aim into the toilet bowl without pissing on the floor. I wash my hair on Wednesdays and make spaghetti Bolognese at least once a week. I get unreasonably annoyed when the television channels randomly change the days and times of my favourite shows [currently Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy] and have put my hand up to be the class parent rep for the 4th year in a row. My boys still hug and kiss me every day and if my husband is at work, he’ll call at least once to ‘check in’ on our day.

Seizing the day for me often means making a good, strong cup of coffee, changing the sheets on the beds and cooking up a few meals for the freezer. I’m not sure that’s very ‘carpe diem’ but that’s what an ordinary life is. And what is so wrong with that? The constant message to live a greater life is a crazy amount of pressure. If you’re not using your jellybeans wisely, you’re wasting your days. Wasting your days. What the fuck does that actually mean? And who’s going to measure the waste? Me?? I don’t really feel like I’m wasting anything. But then there’ll be another article about living an extraordinary life that makes me think – fuck, I’m doing this wrong. If I don’t have a desire for a greater life, am I just lazy? I should be doing things. Having adventures. Impacting the world. Leaving a legacy.

Wait... what? Isn’t that what I’m doing? 

Some days my sons do something so impressive that I feel I am part of an extraordinary journey. I teach them things. And they learn right before my eyes. Their brain fills up with things I tell them. We go to the zoo and I see it through their eyes and it’s a wonderful adventure. I get dragged through the nocturnal section which has never interested me and delight in seeing the baby bilby and my boys and I whisper so we don’t scare it and it’s so exciting. I tell them stories of their grandparents. Stories that are so foreign and removed from life today that they seem like fairytales. They ask for more and I realise I am my family’s memory and the tapestry of my family lives in me and that is extraordinary. I reach out to my gorgeous sons and hold them to me and I feel their heart, that I MADE, beat against my own chest. I made people. And now I’m growing people. And that is fucking extraordinary.  

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