Yeah, I have a ton of work to catch up on today, but I sneaked a peek at the blogosphere a few minutes ago and this post and subsequently, this post got me to thinking, not necessarily about my beliefs, but about the power of an ordinary life.
When I was in college, I applied to become involved in Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America. The application process is slow and arduous, with test after test and tons of interviews to make sure you aren’t some crazy, psycho pedophile. One of the tests I had to take was a psychological exam of some sort in which you were asked all kinds of questions, I can’t even really remember the questions now, but I do remember the case worker asking me if I was satisfied sexually. That was weird, but anyway, the results of my test came back a couple of weeks later and I was sitting in this very small room with the case worker and she reported to me that my scores were all average. I think her exact words were “I’ve never met anyone as middle-of-the-road as you are. You are the most average applicant we’ve ever had.” I didn’t know how to feel about that at the time. As a young co-ed who wanted to be special and glamorous, hearing the words “you” and “average” in the same sentence made me feel, well, un-special. That should have been my first clue that I was not destined for a life of greatness and celebrity. Actually the day I realized my life was going to be ordinary came when I was in the garage standing over the dryer, folding socks, my husband’s socks and my baby boy’s socks to be exact. I was 26 years old and I remember thinking, “This is it. This is how my life is going to be for the rest of my life. I’m going to be folding socks for the next 40 years.” It was a hard realization that my life was going to be just like my mother’s life and her mother’s life and so on. It’s kind of a shock when you realize that you aren’t going to be remembered for great things, your name will most likely never appear on the cover of some fascinating novel you wrote, or your high school reunion won’t anticipate your return with a parade in your honor. Nope, I was just going to be a plain old ordinary wife and mom. I would live an ordinary life, just like everyone else I knew. Over the years, I have gotten used to ordinary life, and can honestly say I now embrace the ordinary day to day things that fill my time. This past week has taught me that an ordinary life is something to cherish. For five days when the cracking of tree limbs was as constant as gunfire, and ice sickles hung a foot off of the birdhouse, I kept saying “I just want things to get back to NORMAL.” When things go haywire isn’t that what we all say? We yearn for the ordinary, the average, the mundane routines of life we have come to depend on. When normal gets interrupted, we panic, we freak a little, and we do what we can to get back to *normal*. Normal, average, and ordinary is the glue that holds our lives together every day. We know what to expect, and there is comfort in that. It’s like having a 24 pack of toilet paper in the cabinet and a gallon of milk in the fridge – it’s security in its basest form.
So yeah, I have decided that average is good; normal is beautiful and ordinary is something to behold. There are some people who seem to attract drama and chaos to their lives, I don’t understand these people. I feel sorry for them because they just never seem satisfied with what life gives them.They are always looking for the next big disaster. How sad. There are so many real disasters that happen everyday. I could go on and on and relate this to how parents want their ailing children to be normal, or how an eating disordered person just wants to eat normally, but I’m not a prolific enough writer to convey those thoughts adequately – I’ll leave that to the real writers.
I am going to go home today and I know pretty much what’s going to happen. I think I know what’s going to happen this weekend (barring any snow storms), and I am comforted by the routines my little family has in place. We’ll do the same average ordinary normal activities we always do. And I will cherish every minute of it!