Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Embrace the Ordinary Day.
Ever have one of those ho-hum, boring, predictable days? Perhaps you find your whole life predictable, the routine so well established you almost seem to sleep walk through it.
"Nothing new" you tell people when they ask you how things are. You get up each morning, prepare for the inevitable chaos of getting everyone out the door. You may go to your job, or run the vacuum, get the mail, run a few errands, maybe meet a friend for coffee. You tell your 11 year old for the twenty-seventh time today not to roll her eyes at you; you have now told your 3 year old 'no' for the seven hundredth time. You go for a walk. You prepare dinner. You help with the homework.
Everyone goes to bed, finally. You plop down exhausted, ready to sleep so that it can all start again tomorrow.
You are so very lucky.
You may not realize how lucky you are. Not until you are thrown out of your boring, ordinary routine. The one you hate.
The one you would now give anything to get back to.
Life has a way of surprising us. We never know when it can happen. Most times, we really don't want to know. We hope we never really have a chance to find out.
We hear of other's misfortunes. We think we are lucky, or that something like that could never happen to us. We plan for tomorrow and next year and think about college for our kids or worry about our retirement savings.
Sometimes we hear about a tragedy on the news and we stop for a moment and consider what is important to us. What our life is really all about. We may hug our children extra tight, tell our husbands how much we love them, call our moms. But that is usually short lived. The news goes away, life goes on and we forget.
Until it happens to us.
Then life stops.
You watch helplessly as life continues to go on around you. You are trapped in your own anguish. No one understands. Life is upside down.
Then life changes. Sometimes forever. Never to be ordinary again.
So, embrace the ordinary day. Be happy to hear the fighting kids, the morning news on the Today Show, the dogs barking. Enjoy looking for that lost sweatshirt, searching for the missing homework, drinking that same cup of coffee you have with skim milk and one sweet and lo every single day.
This is your life. Your ordinary, wonderful life. These are the days the kids will remember forever. How mom always wore that blue robe, how dad woke up late and cursed each morning, how the backyard birds sang in the trees, how fun it was to wait for the bus with all the kids on the block.
Or maybe they will remember riding in the car with you each morning to school talking about the day, or listening to a song that you sing to that they claim is "so embarrassing."
These ordinary times are the building blocks of a lifetime of memories.
I see too often the folks who would do anything to have those days back. Who regret that they squandered them or cursed them or wished for something better.
There really is nothing better than the ordinary day.
For pragmatic reasons, I love the routine. I love the structure of it. I love knowing that my days are free. I know where I'm going at night. I know my life is kind of orderly. I just like that better.
Life is like topography, Hobbes. There are summits of happiness and success, flat stretches of boring routine, and valleys of frustration and failure.
Calvin & Hobbes