Thursday, March 22, 2007

daring to be extraordinary?

I once had a band teacher who told us to only have one or two "5" days a week. A "5" meant to get up, go to work or to school, come home, watch Oprah, eat dinner and go to bed. He kind of made me think about what "ordinary" means and what it means to live an ordinary life, and what is is to be extraordinary.

I would consider myself and my life to be pretty normal. I'm not sure if I would want to call it "ordinary"...maybe I would, I don't know, but I guess I wouldn't call it extraordinary. I get up in the morning, I do my sit-ups, I do my push-ups...I watch a little sports-centre whilst eating my breakfast...I go to work...you know, the usual. Pretty normal, pretty ordinary. I have some extraordinary days, I accomplish things on occasion, but in general? I have a pretty normal life.

But then again...isn't that what almost everyone does? Do we all think that our lives are normal and ordinary? I think mine is, but I look at her life, her life and her life, and I think they each have pretty extraordinary lives. Do they think their lives are normal? Do I think they are so interesting because their lives are so different from mine?

Is it bad not to be extraordinary at all times? Not really. There can only be so many days that count as a 10 and to be perfectly honest, sometimes I really like the "5" days. I find comfort in coming home from work, watching a little Beverly Hills 90210 and having macaroni and cheese for dinner (spirals tonight. mmmmm...reminds me of being 8). And frankly, trying to make every day a 10 would not only be exhausting, but it would be a lot of pressure! Must. do. something extraordinary. I only have a few hours left....aaaaaaaah.

Now to the conundrum. I can't remember if the band teacher in question was the teacher I had for three years and who recently made the U of C's top "40 in 40" graduates list* or the student teacher I had for three months who recently had his teaching license revoked for having relations with one of his female high school students. Does it even matter? Is the advice still good if it came from someone you don't necessarily admire?

*Or was it the top 30 in 30? Regardless, our friend Steve was also on the list.

8 comments:

Kirst said...

Thank you for thinking I have an extrodinairy life. (I know I probably didn't spell that right.)I think my life is pretty normal. Well except for the poop. It's what I do everyday. I have to say I think everybodies life is extrodinairy in their own way. Look at the things you have done or are doing. Moved across the country, training for your first 10K, putting up with Jordan(jk I wish I could put up with both of you), those are just to name a few. Again thanks for the compliment.

lu said...

i often wonder if people who i think are rather extraordinary, like david suzuki or koffi annan, feel so extraordinary. i suppose everyone just gets used to their own lives and it becomes pretty ordinary.

because getting married and moving to a new city are pretty interesting and extraordinary to me. and my life just feels like, well my life. i am happy with it but don't think it is terribly exciting. but i appreciate that you think it is interesting! the feeling is mutual, and i keep reading your blog because of it.

and you know, i have more than a few '5' days a week too. it just so happens that those 5's happen in africa rather than canada.

lu said...

and steve? what is with the thumbs-up? and the hair cut? would somebody please get our prime minister a stylist. i am not even kidding. he doesn't have to look hip or cool or terribly fashionable, but god help us, he does need to stop looking like a corpse! people are going to take us even less seriously if we send him out to the world to represent our great nation.

kris said...

I'm going to have to disagree with lu on this one. I think a corpse would get taken more seriously than Jean C. Considering Paul didn't have a lot of time to get around I think Stephen is a step in the right direction (no pun intended). That said, I'm not arguing against the need for a stylist.

As for an extraordinary life, I think it would demand more effort and sacrifice than I'm willing to give at the moment. I guess there's always the "try to see the extraordinary in the ordinary" approach.

Heather said...

I gotta say, I sometimes miss an "ordinary" life... But I definitely like mine for the time being. I think yours is far from ordinary... But I guess I don't really know what ordinary is.

--Nathan-- said...

A stylist? he's wearing a suit... a nice one at that. maybe a haircut is in order, but common i think he represents what the average canadian looks like. Plus i dont think style is what the international community really cares about.

Dr. Papa said...

I guess I see that others think there is nothing extraordinary about their own lives.

I like to think you have had an extraordinary life. You grew up in a far from normal family constellation. You had a lot of voice in what happened within that family. You have bencome an extraordinary young woman. Your husband is far from "ordinary" and he seems to think you're kind of neat.

I sometimes think we want more from life than we have, and that's ok. As long as we don't minimize what we are already doing. I tried to do like your band leader and live life at 8 - 10. You're right: it's exhausting. All the same, I am happy that I had a positive impact on so many lives. Those same lives had a trmendous impact on me.

I know I am getting better whne I realize that I have made a difference. I am looking forward to the contributions I have yet to make.

At church today, there was an esteemed theologian giving the sermon - from Montreal, he was. He based his sermon (entitled "What is Christianity") not on a biblical passage, but a passage from a book among the popular literature of the last decade or longer. It was a novel from which the movies "Oh God" were based.

The passage dealt with God's response to the question "So what is it all about, in one sentence please?" After taking afew moments, he replied:

"I am here and I like you a lot and it can work and try not to hurt each other too much."

(So God never pretended to be a grammarian nor an opponent of run-on sentences.)

The four ideas in that sentence are really powerful. Maybe the last two are how we can make our lives extraordinary. This creation can work, if we try to be better stewards of the earth and better members od society (though I personally think you're already a pretty fine member of society). It's the "try not to hurt each other too much" part upon which I am trying to concentrate these days.

If I go on any longer, this stops being a comment and becomes a lecture, which I abhor doing as it implies that I might know more about life than someone else.

I think there are so many ways to be extraordinary. I hope that I can be an example. Just as so many people I know, and some I only know of, are examples for me.

You often inspire me!

Evey said...

I think thinking our own lives are ordinary is just the way most of us think. Seems as a society we always seem to think "wow that persons life seems so much greater and so much fuller than mine." I think if we got to spend a day in the life of those who we think have extrodinary ones we would realize they are just as ordinary as us. And i really dont think that is such a bad thing.