I was reading an interesting post over at Budget and the Beach. She’s struggling between the desire to be financially prudent and to, as she puts it “go somewhere and do something” (in a more meaningful sense).
I actually liked the post. It’s something everyone needs to hash out for him- or herself. But one phrase toward the end caught my attention:
“Because I can’t not live an extraordinary life! I refuse to. ” (Emphasis hers.)
To clarify, I’m considering “extraordinary life” to simply mean being renowned, making a notable mark on the world and/or having colorful stories of exotic experiences.
I guess get BATB’s point of view. On the face of it, being ordinary sounds pretty awful. In fact, our society pivots on this idea that everyone should want to be extraordinary and make a permanent imprint on the world.
But is ordinary really all that bad?
Some of the happiest people I know have pretty sedate lives. My mom is finally in a good spot in her life. She and her sweetie go to plays and the opera sometimes, but they also just read quietly in the same room together. They cook, sit by the fire, etc. She watches her great-nephews from time to time, and she goes over to a friend’s house once a week to binge on TV and catch up.
Yes, she travels to some blogging conferences, and she travels to see family. But other than the fact that she’s a very smart person and an amazing writer, her life isn’t extraordinary. Plenty of people could find it downright dull. But she delights in it.
I’m kind of right there with her.
Maybe it’s because of all the turmoil she and I experienced when I was growing up. After years of walking on eggshells (and still suffering), we’re pretty thrilled with a more relaxed life.
So the fact that Tim and I mainly sit around and watch TV together…. That’s okay with me. Yes, I need to read more. Yes, we need to get out of the house more. But we don’t long for notoriety or constant excitement. The only excitement we get tends to be negative, so we’re happy when things get quiet.
A few weeks back Maria Nedeva (The Money Principle) asked people on Facebook, “I have a question for you, friend: Are you willing to exchange the feeling of security for the chance to matter?”
My reply? “Given our health problems and various large expenses, security sounds pretty good to me. I matter to those I care about. That’s plenty for me.”
Maybe the key is that I’ve had enough crap in my life that ordinary seems downright relaxing and enviable. Maybe you have to experience a ton of crap to be able to appreciate a quiet, ordinary life.
Or perhaps I’m being presumptuous, and these people have experienced just as much (or more) than I. Maybe the craving for specialness is just born of some ambition that left me somewhere along the way. Probably after the whole three-months-of-life-support thing.
Do you crave an extraordinary life?
Image courtesy of bradhoc on Flickr