Extraordinarily Ordinary

In 2024, my ramblings will be seen as a column in some area blogs and newspapers. Here a peak at what readers can expect:

Column 1: Extraordinarily Ordinary

Let me take a moment to introduce myself. I’m Beth, a middle-aged, latte drinking, working mama striving to live an extraordinarily ordinary life. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved story telling as a way to connect with those around me.

This column came about after I attended my first personal development conference in 2020. For 4-days I jumped around a packed arena with thousands of other women proclaiming we are made for more. It was far from my first rodeo in leveling up, but certainly the most dramatic.

I returned home with a 2020 mantra of Grace. While others claimed words like mogul, badass, fighter, and entrepreneur, I was unpacking this notion of why do I feel like it is never enough. Little did I know, two months later COVID-19 would hit, and it is grace that’d keep me upright while I attempted to navigate the unknown with millions of other people.

Post COVID-19, I started to notice that in my quest to level up, the self-improvement gurus I had grown to love were planting seeds of doubt in myself. There mantras always revolved around more, more, more. Be more. Do more. Be extraordinary. Give 150% every single day. Nail your morning routine, while drinking a green smoothie, and maximizing production. Quit your day job. Pursue your dreams at any cost because you are not guaranteed tomorrow. Oh, and while I’ll tell you this is effortless for me, while showcasing my very NOT REAL life on social and tell you to live an authentic life, what I show is far from that. In fact, behind the scenes, many of their lives were unraveling and were in fact miserable.

Don’t get me wrong. I know they have a job, and often times they make more money off of our insecurities.  And, I get that social media rarely reflects real life. But, I didn’t realize how this constant messaging and stories of more were throwing off my equilibrium. Sure, jumping around an arena was fun, as was taking a moment to reflect on who I want to become – a luxury I hadn’t taken for myself in a while. But, at some point, this never-ending anxious quest to chase happiness, joy, and constant fulfillment became too much. Perhaps I’m a pessimist at heart, or just someone who lives in the real world. Someone who happily works a day job and is frankly ok with good enough because in the real world, good enough is pretty amazing.

Self-help king of them all Tony Robbins once said, “why live an ordinary life when you can live an extraordinary life?”

Sure. This makes for a great moment of motivation. It even makes sense. But then, your parents die. And you realize that what matters most in life is those ordinary moments. You know, the sustainable ones. When people are asked at the end of their life what matters, it is rarely the things they strived for, but the simple things we take for granted. I so often hear people I admire talk about needing a break. Wanting a day to read a good book, sip a latte, laugh with friends, and climb into a new pair of flannel pants. Yet, there is such a pressure or perceived desire that you must first earn that by pursuing an extraordinary life and achieving the unachievable daily.

This is my small contribution to changing that narrative through stories of everyday life. To recognizing that living a purposeful life can be ordinary. That in fact, for many of us, it is the best life we can hope to achieve. Brene Brown once said, “joy comes to us in moments – ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”

And so, if you choose, let this be your ongoing dose of ordinary. My quest in life is to make average cool again. To remind folks that at the end of the day, we’re just humans helping humans, putting pants on one leg at a time.

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