Why Not . . . Celebrate the Ordinary?

Apr 26, 2017

To be ordinary, to applaud ordinary, to accept the ordinary is not always viewed as a worthwhile pursuit. After all, the definition of ordinary is “routine” or “of a kind to be expected in the normal order of events”.  And as someone who has been accused of loving her routines all too much, it was never with adoration that such a statement was shared. However, to be able to appreciate the ordinary is a skill that I have found enables us to lead extraordinary lives. Let me share today with you what I mean.

“Often in life those seemingly ordinary moments hold the most extraordinary meaning.” ― Ken Poirot

The entire premise of living a simply luxurious life is understanding and then putting into action how to live an extraordinary life in the everyday ordinary moments. The moments that we have to tend to each day: make breakfast, do the job that pays the bills, spend time with those we love in the same house we call home, balance the monthly budget, make sure we allow 7-8 hours of sleep each night and the list could go on forever. With each opportunity I have had in my lifetime to spend with different people, families and friends as they go about their lives, I have observed that some know how to turn the ordinary into truly extraordinary circumstances and experiences while others just make it through the day. It truly is a skill, a choice, a way of living, and it doesn’t require a certain amount of money, a particular amount of square footage, a particular wardrobe or any lifestyle descriptor that from the outside many assume we need. What it requires is something we each can find within ourselves if we choose to look. What is it we’re looking for?  The beauty and the opportunity in each moment, and then choosing to make the most of it.

“You can find something truly important in an ordinary minute.” 
― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

Since the birth of TSLL blog, ideas and ways of living our everyday lives in such a way to bring more beauty, pleasure, appreciation, comfort and awe have been shared. From how to build a great week to understanding how art can improve the happiness factor in our everyday life.  How we choose to go about and how we choose to perceive the world we reside in each day determines whether our seemingly ordinary days can rise to the sensation of extraordinary.

Why not . . . 

. . . savor the everyday routines such as grocery shopping, your daily walk, making breakfast or even cleaning the house? As shared here in 2012, Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds it is a miraculous mark of wisdom to see the miraculous in the common.

. . . revel in the rest you ensure you give yourself each day. Learn how to do so and do so well here.

. . . create your own simple rituals, events you look forward to, enjoy and lose all track of time when partaking?

. . . simplify, but at the same time elevate your work week style quotient in order to look and feel your best?

. . . eradicate the negativity so that you can experience and luxuriate in all the goodness that surrounds you each and everyday?

. . . spend time in nature regularly?

. . . discover how to design a happy life that truly brings you joy, rather than attempting to emulate what society tells you your life should look like in order to be content?

. . . be inspired by cultures that fascinate you? In my case, be inspired by the French and discover how to create a luxurious everyday life.

. . . recognize that whether you are able to getaway on a vacation or not, life can still be quite grand? Discover how to make the most of a stay-cation.

. . . understand and master the basics and build a solid foundation in your everyday life so that you can springboard into the extraordinary, no matter where your curiosities take you?

The funny thing about the word ordinary is that it requires that the majority of populous with similar characteristics is doing the same thing. And so this is what I find thought-provoking: We may have similar external attributes – a partner, a job, a car, a home, bills, some of us children, etc. – but what separates the ordinary from the extraordinary is how we dance with each of these details. Instead of begrudgingly making dinner, why not make it a fun affair? Why not have a theme night, or perhaps make it an experience in which the music is on, the television is off and fun aprons are worn by anyone who steps foot into the kitchen? Or when it comes to relaxing after a long day, put on soothing tunes rather than the drone of the television, pour yourself a crisp glass of water with a squeeze of lemon and allow yourself to close your eyes or talk about your day with a loved one.

When we choose to celebrate the ordinary moments in our lives, we, by how we choose to engage with them, have the ability to make them extraordinary. And in so doing, we elevate not only our life but the lives that we touch or are intertwined with.

Some of us will have more routines throughout their days than others depending upon their job, expectations and responsibilities, but we will also have the opportunity to be spontaneous and seize upon opportunities that are not routine. And when we do, the practice we have had in our everyday routines of looking for the beauty, of choosing to be present, will lend itself quite well to making the most of the extraordinary, unique opportunities when they come our way.

Because you see, each of us has a choice. It’s easy to be ordinary, to do what everyone else approves of and accepts, but if that doesn’t sit well, even if the outline of your life looks ordinary to the outside world, you can elevate it.  How you do that is by celebrating the seemingly ordinary moments – the chirp in the spring of the morning mating birds, the gentle fall of the rain that offers the sweetest smell, the desire for your pup or child to snuggle with you as you sit in your favorite chair, the playful whisper of sweet words from your love upon the curve of your neck, savoring a well-written opinion piece in the morning newspaper while sipping your coffee – and doing what you can to enliven the everyday at every turn.

How can you make the everyday of someone you love more lovely? How can you shift gears from humdrum to happy-dance city? Ask yourself, what pulls you down? Do you pull yourself down? Are you focusing on what frustrates you, slows you down or seems to get in your way? Why not focus on what is working? Why not focus on the gift that you have a job you love or good health that keeps your heart and mind at their optimum performance? Why not focus on the lovely night’s sleep you had last night or the sensual perfume you wear each day? Why not focus on the gift you have to live today better than you did yesterday?

Getting into the habit of celebrating the ordinary is a skill that provides the foundation for an overall well-lived life. For when you can find the beauty in events, things, people, that others pass by, the experience of the extraordinary is all the more powerful and life-changing. I often ponder if we didn’t have the ordinary would we know how to fully appreciate the unique and extraordinary when it enters our lives? And speaking from experience, having witnessed moments in the everyday that were lovely, but common and frequent, when the hoped for but unexpected did enter my life, I found I was all the more stunned, dumbstruck and appreciative, bathing myself in each and every moment so as not to forget its magical presence, not sure if such events were a dream or a dream come true, but making sure I would never forget they occurred.

Perhaps life doesn’t know if we as individuals appreciate the everyday or not, but I think the gift to those who do celebrate the ordinary moments are those moments I spoke of that take our breath away. Perhaps our breath can only be taken away if we understand how rare and unique and special they are, and perhaps it is through the lens of being able to see all the little details of awesomeness that leave us dumbstruck and feeling utterly blessed and appreciative.

And with the combination of ordinary and extraordinary moments making up our lives, what amazing lives we have the opportunity to live each and every day, non?

So today and every day, why not revel in the everyday routines you have established, honed and polished (and if necessary, toss those that aren’t working) so that the everyday can be a day you look forward to waking up to each morning?

Have a lovely remainder of the week everyone and thank you for stopping by.

 



28 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Celebrate the Ordinary?

  1. This I am beautiful post and a great reminder to not take the little things for granted. Thank you for the continuos inspiration you bring through your writing!

  2. Really lovely post. Have you read Alexandra Stoddard? She wrote “How to Live a Beautiful Life” and several other books on bringing beauty and ritual into our everyday lives to make each moment extraordinary. I think you would find her a kindred spirit.

  3. I love this. It’s so easy to take for granted the routine, and the ordinary. But aren’t those the moments that ultimately make life special? As you teach all the time, simple doesn’t mean boring. I live for those moments of each day – walking my dogs, cooking dinner for my husband, reading before I go to sleep at night. And appreciating those *ordinary* things does help make each day special.

  4. Many lovely sentiments to be found here; I am reminded of that film “Ordinary People”; I have never seen this film; yet the word ‘ordinary’ summons of it. Thank you for the inspirations shared here, and have a lovely weekend as well.

  5. Lovely post…again! I could not agree with you more. I believe that converting the daily ordinary into the extraordinary is hand in glove to being comfortable in one’s own skin. I’m uncertain which quality — skill? — appears first but they make for a wonderful life when they are both present. Kudos to you, Shannon.

    Happy Wednesday, everyone!

  6. Oh, what a beautiful, well written post! Such a lovely thought to celebrate the ordinary in the everyday, and one I am cultivating and refining. Your blog is inspiring, and helping me to curate my own life. Thank you x

  7. YES! This is why I have enjoyed following your posts for years–“The entire premise of living a simply luxurious life is understanding and then putting into action how to live an extraordinary life in the everyday ordinary moments…When we choose to celebrate the ordinary moments in our lives… we elevate not only our life but the lives that we touch or are intertwined with.”
    It is the sublime that leads us always to the extra-ordinary, non?
    Thank you, Shannon!
    XOXO

  8. Such a wonderful post and thought! In a time where it seems only the extraordinary counts – with all its costs!!! – it is so, so good reading this!! Thank you!

  9. Hi Shannon, i’ve been follow your posts for couple of years. I was so impressive by your work and was inspired by your post. May i copy the image here to my phone (the shoes and tulips)? Thanks

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