Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Extraordinary, Ordinary Life

Published in the South Shore Breaker - November 9, 2016
How many "likes" have you had today? Have you updated your status? What interesting adventure have you had recently? Are you keeping up with the Kardashians? Has your video gone viral?

In this world of everyone trying to become famous, or just trying to out-do their friends and neighbours, it can be a real challenge to be happy just to be yourself and simply enjoy your everyday life.

And by "enjoy your everyday life", I
m not talking about taking photos of every meal you eat and posting it on facebook.

I recently watched a short documentary called "Born to be Mild" featuring The Dull Men
s Club, an online community of men (and women who appreciate dull men) who just want to be ordinary. According to their website, the groups greatest accomplishment is "remaining dull in spite of the ever-increasing pressures from advertising, the media, and elsewhere to change." 

Now thats a group that I could happily belong to, but I dont think Ill sign up. Ill just try to enjoy being dull in my own way.

Everything has the potential to be interesting, but the great thing is that we are all unique and we all have different things that capture our attention. The documentary featured a man who travels around taking photographs of mailboxes, someone who collects milk bottles and stores them in a special building, and someone who takes pictures of roundabouts. Did you know that each roundabout is different in some way?

Do those things interest me? No. But the great thing is that these people are happy doing what they
re doing. They found something that makes them happy, even if their hobbies might seem strange or mundane to other people.

Sometimes we can get caught up in the drudgery of living. Every morning, I have the same routine. I get up, get dressed, let the dogs out, make coffee, let the dogs in, feed the dogs, feed the cat, and on and on it goes.

You get the picture. Not exactly the exciting life some people strive for, but I would wager a bet that most of you are the same way. You
ll have your own daily routines, not mine. But we all have our regular patterns that seldom change.

And we should celebrate that. We should strive to be like the Dull Men
s Club and be content with who we are and what we do.

I collected feathers from under the bird feeders in our yard for a few weeks, and I spent an afternoon photographing them recently. Yes, I know. Who gets happy taking pictures of things like feathers or insect wings or other small, inconsequential things? Well, I do. Maybe that
s strange. Or maybe its just ordinary. Maybe its me being me.
Dreams are like feathers. Delicate and fragile, but able to fly higher than the clouds.
And you know what? Sometimes I need to remind myself that it makes me happy that I take pictures of feathers when Im feeling envious of other peoples stunning landscape images of exotic locations. Now and then I have to remember that I actually enjoy staying at home and doing ordinary things with my husband and dogs and cat. Being able to travel locally and "just be" makes me happier than indulging in a travel vacation for a couple of weeks each year to escape my everyday life.
Bottle House in Cap-Egmont, PEI
This summer we broke from our day tripping routine and traveled to PEI for two nights. One of my long time goals was to visit the Bottle Houses in Cap-Egmont, and that was our first and only official tourist stop. I have always loved old bottles and coloured glass, and the way the light shines through them. Combined with my love of unique buildings, it seemed an attraction made just for me. And I loved it. My husband thought I was crazy and took the dogs for a walk instead of joining me when we arrived. Some people might think thats strange, but its actually a thing to celebrate when two people can spend time together and each do something different that gives them joy.

We should all try to be happy just being ourselves. It helps to understand that sometimes this takes work. Most of us fall into the trap now and then of measuring ourselves, our achievements, or our lives, against other people. It
s easy to slip into the comparison habit, especially if we spend a lot of time online. Remember that most people only share the "best of" their lives. Hey, look at this fantastic gourmet meal I just made. Wow, look at me enjoying this exotic location. Everything is sunshine and light, happiness and life fulfilling achievements. Reality tv is nothing like reality.
detail from inside one of the Bottle Houses in Cap-Egmont, PEI
So lets all try to think about the little things in our lives that make us happy. It may be mundane, or it may seem silly to someone else, but if it gives us joy then thats what we should focus on.

3 comments:

K&B by the Sea said...

I love this article Sara :-) You touched on so many great points. One thing I like to do is take pictures of front doors. Brian thinks I'm weird, but hey, that's me! And I won't NOT do something I enjoy doing just because someone else doesn't get it :-)

The bottle house is amazing! We were there a few years ago and we both really loved it :-)

TeresaA said...

Great article. I've been enjoying your series.

Sherry Hudson said...

Wonderful article Sara, you have a nice way with words. Its nice to give permission for a full range of experience in life from the once in a life time events to the simple things that make our day to day lives rich with meaning.