I have a pretty fantastic life. I live in a country where I can say and do whatever I want. (Obviously, within reason, and I still have to remember that there are consequences for everything.)
I have done some pretty outrageous things. I sat on Gary Allen’s tour bus when I was 16. I took a forbidden road trip at the age of 17. I had a baby at 18. I graduated from college at 27. I conquered NYC at 31 (okay, maybe conquered is a strong word. I went on vacation to NYC.) Grad school and my dream job came at 32. I completed a Tough Mudder as an old lady of 34.
Last night, I was I complaining to my mother about The Blogger’s choice of picture when he chose my blog to be his guest post. He chose one where I had my nose wrinkled up.
I typically reserve that expression for people in my family. I think I look ridiculous when I make that face, and I try to avoid it when possible. Except for with my son. I love it when he makes that face, and when he was a baby somehow we got this picture.
This is one of my favorite pictures in the world. I love that we were making the same face. That’s my boy. There is no denying that he is my child. But, that is so not the point. What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. I was complaining to my mom about the wrinkly nose picture. You see, that is a picture you only get if I am not concerned with how I look in the shot. To get this picture, I have to be completely in the moment. This is me- totally open and just being myself.
Of course, my mother likes the wrinkly nose picture and she used this as an opportunity to bring up one of the stories my family keeps in their back pocket for maximum embarrassment effects. Let me just say, the story involves a 3 year old me, face paint, a cat costume, and my intrigue regarding the rationale of painting my boogers.
Now, there are only a few people in the world who know that story. It happened over 30 years ago. I do not actually recall the event, it was just another day for me. My family remembers, and they apparently love random opportunities to reenact the conversation.
I know. I know. Who cares? What is your point?
Our lives are a series of ordinary days with a few extraordinary days sprinkled in. The best stories, the ones that only a few know about are the best part. The regular old days that did not necessarily involve anything all that exciting. The Marvelously Mundane. The tales of family lore. All it takes is one sentence and the entire family has a private laugh, a joke that outsiders just do not get.
If I were at work and asked someone why they were painting my boogers- I would be greeted with stares and awkward silence. Attempts to explain the significance would fall flat. No one would get it. For one thing, they totally missed my cat ears and tail. Without the costume, it is hard to imagine. They would probably be imagining their 34 year old nurse practitioner asking such a ridiculous question. They would have a little less confidence in my professional prowess. (note to self- one should probably not discuss boogers and face paint at work.) *additional note to self- one should probably not refer to oneself as one. It sounds ridiculous.
So, where was I? Is there a point? Oh. yeah.
It is easy to try to define your life by the big events. This is a mistake that I make far too often.
How do you go about living a life worth living if you do not achieve greatness? (What is greatness? What would I have to do to be actually great? Fantastic? WONDERFUL?) For most of life, I have been waiting to arrive. While I am not entirely certain of the destination, I was waiting. It is almost like percolating coffee. I wanted to be full-bodied and robust. (Wait. That sounds weird. I am full-bodied. Quite robust. hmmm. Okay- just know, I did not mean physically. Unless you mean strong. Why would you mean anything? I am the one that said it. Nevermind.)
Did you know that 10 people in Australia have read my blog today? 3 people in Germany. Am I the only person who finds that incredible? Do you think they liked it? Will they read it again?
I am one of those people who possess no artistic talents. I cannot draw, paint, sculpt, sing, dance, or even act. I desperately wanted to do all of those things. I wanted to have an interesting way to express myself. I completely underestimated my capabilities. I was so busy tallying up the talents I did not possess that I totally forgot to give myself credit for the ones I have. I would never dream of judging another person as harshly as I judge myself.
There is something special about the ordinary days. Driving in the car with your mom listening to Reba McEntire, singing along without fear of judgement, not caring how you sound. Going to see a bad movie with your son. Harry Potter marathons that you fall asleep during. Curling up with a good book.
We have far more regular days than remarkable ones. I think it is time to celebrate the normal stuff. The big, special days are great! Everyone should get to experience them. However, we miss so much when we are constantly waiting for the next great adventure.
I am planning to do 2 more Tough Mudders this year. In about 6 months. If I wait until then to find inspiration, I will have missed half a year. We don’t get that many days in our lives, and we should not waste them. Open your eyes, look around. Find the beauty in the ordinary. Act like a tourist in your town. See things from a new perspective. Write your story in your every day life. Fall in love with The Marvelously Mundane.