Tuesday, August 7, 2007


My fabulous friend Liz wrote a very thoughtful post on her blog about whether or not there is honor in the ordinary.

She wrote: “It is hard when I think of where I thought I would be at 32 and what I thought I would be doing. Aside from still being alive, nothing else is what I’d imagined.”

My response to this is: welcome to the club. I bet you can ask almost anyone you know and they would all say that they 1.) are not doing what they thought they would be doing at this age, and 2.) they live a very ordinary, even boring, life.

And why is this? Because we were all delusional, naïve, starry-eyed lunatics when we were 18. Seriously. Do you know what I wanted to be when I was 18? An actress. I had just spent the previous 4 years involved in high school drama and I was certain that my future was the stage. And just writing “my future was the stage” proves what an idiot I was. Of course we’re going to think we’re dull if we compared ourselves to what we thought we should be when we were 18. If that were my life I would be married to Johnny Depp, living in London and dusting my Tony Awards while sipping on a Slurpee from my very own Slurpee machine (mark my words, I will have that Slurpee machine! Oh yes. I will.)

I think it all comes down to proximity. We’re with ourselves all the time so naturally we’re going to think that we’re not so exciting. The more we’re with something the more common it becomes to us. Example: I have a pair of earrings that I bought years ago at Target for $5. I use to wear them all the time but I’ve stopped because I’m kind of bored with them. But on the rare occasion that I do wear them I get a compliment. Every time. People notice how cute they are but I look at them like, eh, they’re okay, I guess, because I see them all the time.

It’s the same with the things we’re good at, the things that can make us great rather than ordinary. We live with our talents every day and they come naturally to us so of course we’re going to think that they’re no big deal. Especially if they’re not “talent show” talents. For years I was always a little sad that I never had anything to share at talent shows. I can’t tap dance or twirl a flaming baton. I can’t play the guitar or hula or sing arias. It took me years to realize that I have talents that are worthwhile even if they can’t be shared up on stage. And most of the time I look at those talents and think, eh, they’re okay, I guess.

I won’t go into what we can do to combat those feelings that we’re dull. That’s a little too Dr. Laura for me. But I will answer Liz’s question of whether or not there’s honor in the ordinary. I say yes. Especially if by ordinary we mean doing what we’re good at and enjoying ourselves in the process and surrounding ourselves with extraordinary people and laughing a lot and eating chocolate and generally creating a good life for ourselves. Who needs famous movie stars to do that?

Although I do need that Slurpee machine.


Amanda said...

At the end of your post you wrote 'surround ourselves with EXTRAordinary people' When I read that I thought of all of you friends that read this blog and some others that I hope are reading but not commenting. We view those around us as extraordinary individuals. They fill our lives with joy and friendship that is in no way ordinary and that is enriching for us. However, reading the posts of all of us, we all feel that our lives our quite ordinary. All I know is that I am so grateful for the friendships that have built me up when I needed it most and for the wonderful women that help me to laugh and make me want to try new things and improve myself. The effect of good friends is such a deep blessing! I have a little mist in my eye now so I will stop typing. I love you girls.

Amanda said...

P.S. I'll come over if you get the Slurpee machine. I will enjoy and then steal it, but I will still come over. :)

Liz the Poet said...

What would I do without such smart, witty, and amazing friends?

Rachel, I love your idea that it's about proximity. The more I've been thinking about that, the more I see what you mean.

I'm too close to myself to see the extraordinary in my life.


Heather said...

mmmm--slurpees! lets go get some!

Ms. Liz said...

Amen for perspecitve and personal relativity. You're a masterpiece.