03 June 2007

Making Peace with Ordinary

"I'm just an ordinary woman." -Kitty (from The Painted Veil)

When character Kitty Fane delivered these words, a weight dropped off my shoulders. Sometimes I just feel like an ordinary woman. I like to sleep in on Sundays. My guilty pleasures are juicy gossip and relaxing in the sun. I have aspirations to great things but when it comes down to it my life is much like everyone else's. I like to play cards and sweep the front steps. I haven't cured any illness nor do I delight in overly scientific things. Then the thought of being an ordinary woman was comforting to me. So many people seek "the simple life" and when asked to define it cite a paring down of essentials, a less complicated set of committments and a selfless and unselfish attitude. While all of these things appeal to me, I don't always find the hapiness that I thought would be attained when I am finally on the verge of attaining these goals. I feel emptiness on walls left bare without art or family photos. I feel lonely when I am not surrounded with friends and relationships on a regular basis and I think my hope of being unselfish and selfless backfires when I realize that it is sort of a selfish thought to be unselfish. I do need things. I do want things. I can pretend that I don't but then I feel let down and as if I've betrayed myself and all that I do desire.

To me it is the small things that make one's life extraordinary. It is the volume of a laugh in a quiet place; the smile exchanged with a person across a crowded room; the soft touch of a hand when someone feels hurt or alone; the embrace of a friend in any situation; the compassion of words and eyes when secrets and shattered dreams or sadness is shared; the smells of home and of memories both wonderful and painful. A life that is ordinary is always filled with extraordinary moments, dreams and ambitions. A simple life is an extraordinary life unrealized.

To realize that one is ordinary is freeing. To make peace with oneself about being ordinary is a small gift wrapped in a simple box.

No comments: