Extraordinary Ordinary

The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to seeing them that we call them ordinary. — Hans Christian Anderson

Isn’t this true?! I look at my life sometimes and wonder what the point is – nothing I do goes outside the boundaries of ordinary. We live in a world where people are doing such extraordinary things – my life pales in comparison! Here’s another quote I keep in my back pocket…

Comparison is the thief of joy. — Theodore Roosevelt

When I got the bug to start this new blog, I kept running up against my ‘ordinary’ wall.  “Who cares about my ordinary life – what can I possibly write about?” You know, the original purpose of blogs (weblogs) was simply to be a sort of “captain’s log” review of the noteworthy events in our everyday lives – a plain old ‘ordinary’ diary. Somewhere along the way, they became much more than that – award-worthy photography, ad space, earning potential, digital product sales, search engine optimization, and a HUGE point of comparison!!! I tell myself I’m writing this blog for myself, but then I catch myself wondering “who will care” – in other words, do I have the chutzpah to attract readers? I sometimes suspect my purpose in life may very well be to get over myself!

Bottom line, there are some extraordinary people, women in particular, out there doing some pretty extraordinary things… here are just a few. There is also a lot to be said for the extraordinary ordinary things we’re doing and experiencing in our everyday lives:

  • We have amazing health options that tend to appear ordinary to us these days. In 2013, my husband was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse. It was identified in a routine office visit when our family doctor heard a murmur. If he hadn’t gone for that checkup, if our doctor hadn’t heard that murmur, if he hadn’t had mitral valve replacement surgery he would have died within the year (so we were told). Medical science didn’t even have a way to work on the heart before 1953 (when the first successful heart-lung bypass was performed). My husband came out of that surgery, healthier than ever with an audible tick (the valve opening and closing), which we don’t even notice anymore – it’s just an ordinary (extraordinary) part of our lives.
  • Twice a year, I get to go on a health retreat in Tuscon, Arizona. Before 1950, that would have meant driving for many hours in a hot, gas-guzzling car to get there, probably sleeping on a cot with no air conditioning, and you do not even want to know what the body treatments would have looked like (okay, if you really want to know, here’s a glimpse). Today, I hop on a plane, hurtle through the air at over 500 mph, land in Tuscon appx. 2 hours after departure, then it’s luxury all the way.
  • Outside my window, I have a flower garden that’s bordered with natural stone blocks. At some point, someone went out into the wilderness, harvested enormous rough stones, transported them somehow back to a workshop of some sort and diced them up into the nice, neat, regular shapes that now line my flowerbed and are taken for granted every day.
  • My daughter lives in Vermont, an approximate 29-hour drive from where I live in Oklahoma; yet, we talk face-to-face on Skype every Sunday. A hundred years ago, handwritten letters would have been the best we could realistically hope for, delivered by horse or stagecoach – in just 10 days using Pony Express!
  • Indoor plumbing, electric lights, clean air and water, fresh food, cars to drive around in – our lives are infinitely more comfortable than our ancestors, who faced such hardships as walking everywhere, living together with extended family (as much as 3 generations worth), hand-me-down clothing, outhouses! Our ordinary is beyond extraordinary in comparison.

I could go on and on – it’s easy to be grateful when I really start to evaluate all that’s available to me. I recently read “The Humans” by Matt Haig and the main character (an alien from hundreds of thousands of light years away) talks about what a miraculous thing it is to be alive – on a planet that’s the perfect distance from a healthy sun, that spins just the right amount to keep out feet generally attached to the ground. Then there’s conception – the gazillion sperm of which just one meets the one egg (out of a gazillion) that results in you. Then there’s birth itself – everything working just as it should for nine months inside a woman’s belly to deposit you healthy and whole into the great big world!

You are lucky to be alive. Inhale and take in life’s wonders. Never take so much as a single petal of a flower for granted. — Matt Haig, The Humans

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