This year, I promise to be ok with the mundane.
After all, I’ve always prided myself on finding the meaning in the mundane. It’s my mantra, my motto, my raison d’etre.
But there have been times when I want more or bigger or to be known. And that is a never-winning journey because you can’t be big enough or rich enough or famous enough.
Our desires are fleeting. We get what we want and then we want something more. We make it really hard on ourselves.
And so one of my pledges for this year is to live a very ordinary life, and find it extraordinary.
I’m going to take you along on my journey. Every week, I will publish a blog on living the ordinary life. This is the first one. Let’s give it a go.
Heading back into routine after two weeks off, Dan and I sat down over the weekend to plan the meals. Sometimes, we truly are organized enough to do one thorough shop and designate certain dishes for certain nights.
Asher has been asking for tacos forever, so we consented for Sunday night. But not everyone eats tacos, and I’m not eating meat and poultry, so we sautéed some fish and baked small red potatoes until soft.
Last night, I wanted pasta with green and orange veggies. I know that sounds funny – the colors are what drew me? But honestly, they did.
Broccoli chopped up and sautéed with garlic and olive oil until lightly crispy, edamame and carrots cooked until soft, tumbled over spaghetti noodles and sprinkled with parmesan flakes. It was the kind of reassuring winter meal that made me feel content.
I realize sometimes how very basic our lives can be.
We walk up and down the stairs of this house countless times every day – sometimes carrying dirty clothes to the basement to run a wash and make everything clean.
We empty garbages into big plastic bags and set them at the curb for pickup. I lift the strewn clothes from the kids’ bedroom floors only to find the next day they are there again, different colors and patterns, but there just the same.
This is the routine of an ordinary life. And within the ordinary is where we find speckles of meaning.
A month ago, a letter came in the mail hand-addressed to homeowner, postmarked St. Paul, Minnesota. I tore it open and read a lovely missive from a woman who grew up in this house. She was coming to town for a wedding over the holidays and wondered if she could stop by and see how her childhood home had changed.
On New Year’s Day, a middle-aged couple rang our bell and stepped inside with smiles and paper cups of coffee. They told us of the 1880s-built home they are restoring, and pointed out how elements of our home used to be different.
We walked up and down the stairs, trading comments and quips, veritable strangers on the first day of a new year, sharing histories that affect us both.
Once again, I realized how linked we all are. As they prepared to leave for the airport, the husband remarked, “I haven’t had the courage to knock on the door at my old house. I just sit in my car at the curb, and look at it from the outside, and wonder if it looks as it did when I lived there.”
What keeps us from asking to be let in? What is the harm in welcoming a stranger into a home you have both loved and guiding them on a tour of how it serves you today?
We are all connected in so many ways. I wish we could see that. I wish we could live as though this web of humanness, love and desire linking us all were something to cherish, rather than something we fear.