Real life is mundane. Real life is ordinary; From waking up with muck in your eyes and going to the grocery store for milk, to going on a yearly family trip and getting a paycheck. But then it’s the moments in between that make your heart pop out of its socket, one hop too quick, one beat too sudden. Those are the bumps on the road some of us secretly wish for because we want to feel something, sometimes anything. Even if it’s discomfort of a new shoe because the comfort of an old well-worn shoe tends to suffocate.
Just the other day I was thinking about the monotony of life. Routine can be exhausting. But despite the redundancy, I am old enough to understand that an uneventful day is something to be grateful about. As humans we are programmed to seek thrill from life. We turn to fantasy, disbelief and magic of the world to jolt us. If nothing else, for many even a good dose of gossip is enough. We love to hear stories of ordinary people doing the remarkable. Apart from the chants of ooo,s and aaa,s our minds stop to ponder for a minute, ‘What if that was me?!’ A Pakistani girl gets shot in the head, survives and goes on to become a Nobel Peace Prize winner. The perfect story for a book or a movie. But since its real life, her story gets an added gold star. We breathe a little in awe-inspiring lives of others. We paint our colors on their unreal canvas. But at the end of the day, we always want to snap out of it and get back to our much-welcomed reality.
The question however remains. Why do we squirm in our seats when life gets too redundant? What’s so inviting about surprise? Should we wish for the extraordinary, the occasional bumps or detours on the road? Or should we find peace in the drudgery of life? Some would argue the presence of fate and destiny. No matter what you wish for, if something is going to happen, it will – be it good or bad. It could be anything really. You wake up, trip over your laptop’s charger and end up in the hospital. Or you get mugged on your way to an interview. Or a friend’s friend gets hit by lightning. Or a close relative falls terminally ill. Don’t get me wrong. Wonderful things also happen in life. People win the lottery. Your book becomes a best seller. You finally get along with your mother-in-law. The good or the bad, as long as there’s a tinge of surprise adding oomph like jalapenos in your salad, routine becomes worth breaking. Life happens to others a bit more bluntly than others. Maybe it’s in the stars. Those who experience extraordinary circumstances usually don’t buckle under pressure. Maybe they have a stronger heart and a sturdier stomach to endure. Maybe they are just built that way.
My story so far is ordinary. Unless you call a toddler puking on a road trip and a preschooler sleep-talking something special. And I am happy with that. Every time I think I’m stuck in a rut I try to remind myself that I need to be grateful. I don’t need a speed-breaker because I am traveling at a comfortable 50 KMH. I love adventure and surprises but I don’t have the stomach for greater things. My penchant for thrill will hopefully come from roller coasters and bunji jumping. I shrivel under pressure. My nerves tighten and get jammed like the highway during rush hour. I’d like to blame it on the hormones, but I don’t think I can get away with that every time. That’s just me.
People say you can tell a lot about a person if you travel with them. I think I`m a good traveler and I usually enjoy a lot. But on one occasion I almost lost my luggage after a strenuous journey of 24 hours with just my two children. And the minute I saw my husband outside, instead of greeting him with a smile I was an angry wreck in tears. Eventually all turned out well and my luggage was found.
I also learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes when you’ve lived a life of comfort for too long, it gets difficult to expect the unexpected. I did not have to react the way I did. People have lost more. Life? Family? Health? Faith? Surely misplaced baggage does not fit the criteria. Maybe that`s why God keeps me snuggled in a beautifully ordinary life. And that is my biggest blessing.
I can do with a bit more of strengthening but a six-pack mind? Errr. I don’t have the nerves of steel, or even brass. I am gold (in terms of malleability only, and besides modesty is my biggest virtue) on my good days. And that too after plenty of effort.
What about you? Does life’s monotony get overbearing at times? Does a break from it all make you feel alive, no matter how shocking? Or are you content with your life’s routine?