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?
All true and as – expected – beautifully worded. There is always a quote or two one can borrow!!
But life is a curve. Even the ordinary doesn’t last forever; there will always be surprises, bad ones too. When things go well for me for some time be sure something or the other is round the corner. So while it is expected, you are never prepared for it. It will always be unexpected and when we live our mundane ordinary lives, we need to thoroughly enjoy it for as long as it lasts because rest the next curve/ turn is getting closer. Oh then how we would want that things remain ordinary, mundane, uninteresting.
And you know why grandparents so much love their grandchildren? Because it gives them a second and more often the last chance at really enjoying the small unnoticed things in life that really make it worth living!!!
Nothing is routine and ordinary or boring. Everyday is unique. I for one don’t remember ever being bored!!!
I have thought about that many times. How you are so happy among your grandchildren. The twinkle in your eyes and the love in your smile is self-explanatory. Your love reminds me to cherish their younger years, because they will go by in a flash.
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Nida, you’ve given us stuff to chew on. You say your story so far is ordinary because you are traveling at a comfortable 50 KMH. I agree with you that ordinary life has many blessings. When I stay thankful, I see them clearly- I’m alive, I have a wonderful family! 🙂
I’m a creature of routine. There’s usually something interesting going on in my brain and most times I’m too self-absorbed to notice my boring life. Perhaps it’s partly because I rediscovered my passion for writing, and it consumes me. Someone read one of my posts and commented that I must live an exciting life. I replied that writing means that I can take the mundane and give it a lively twist.
Moreover, I enjoy my own company and a good book.
I do hunger for more, not necessarily excitement, but something purposeful. If I’m deploying my energy into meaningful causes, I feel fulfilled.
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Oh I loved this!
“There’s usually something interesting going on in my brain and most times I’m too self-absorbed to notice my boring life. Perhaps it’s partly because I rediscovered my passion for writing, and it consumes me.”
The perks of being a writer! I can completely relate:).
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So very well written! But even staying in our comfort zones for too long can cause a burnt out.Life is quirky, we all operate at different levels of ecstasy and melancholy. The horrible midlife crisis is when you realise that what you have been doing for the past two-three decades is meaningless now! You want to leave your prestigious doctor practice for something as fickle as Poetry or Gardening ! The thrill seekers, the adventurers, the groundbreakers are genius, and a tad bit mad.The middle of the road travellers at 50mph are the sane ones.Hormones , emotions all lead us to the fatal fatuity of life.
I would like to break the monotony of my life, but like most cowards, I don’t wanna be the first raindrop!
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No wonder there is a hidden genius screaming inside you, begging to be let out!! And poetry and gardening are not at all fickle, so go on experiment, be the “first rain drop”. You’ll be an awesome one;)
I totally hear ya sister! But one thing I am starting to appreciate slowly is how extraordinary my ordinary life really is. Like right now 8:30pm trying desperately for my toddler to go to sleep I kept raising my voice at him for ten minutes till I just decided to give him ‘the’ stare to shush him and his humongous smile and twinkly eyes shushed me instead 🙂 Yes the routines can feel really old and overbearing but as they say ‘there are no ordinary moments’.
haha I’m sure his ‘humongous smile and twinkly eyes’ are among the many extraordinary pleasures of your life:).
The monotony does get to me and more often than not I find myself longing for that extra kick of adrenaline. Life is pretty much slow paced for me, but at this speed I seek something faster. And when that bump comes, I can feel myself letting go in it only to come back extremely strained.
Ah yes, that’s when I cry too. I can cry for something as fickle as having my purse stolen, and the only item missed my spare battery.
So I crave something more, but I also get to live it in my head too. Right now though, I’d rather I lived it in the real world but am too scared to take that jump off the edge.