I won’t lie. Ever since I was a teenager I have craved for my life to be extraordinary is some way.
I have always dreamed of leaving a lasting impact on the world. Of travelling widely and to uncommon places. To love deeply and be loved. To taste, touch, smell and listen to things that would leave me with a feeling that “yes, I have lived an extraordinary life”.
Despite being fortunate enough to have actually done many of these things, the feeling I’ve been seeking has nevertheless remained out-of-reach. Unattainable. Something I could imagine but not quite achieve. I have always had a sense that I’m not quite enough. That I could be more. See more. Do more. And not surprisingly this has left me with an unshakeable desire to seek more and in a state of relentless striving.
Yet below my yearning for the extraordinary, there is simply a desire for contentment. I know that in the end all I really want — all that any of us want — is a genuine appreciation for the life that we have. Or as it says in the dictionary “a state of happiness and satisfaction”.
Whether we find this satisfaction at the top of the Andes, or sipping tea with a friend, the end result is the same. Just as I might achieve wealth, knowledge, or skill in a multitude of ways, if I am content, and if I feel my life is extraordinary, then so it is.
And that’s got me thinking. While I battle with this internal desire for an indefinable “extra”, what if it is right in front of me?
After all, isn’t it extraordinary that after my husband’s suicide that my children and I remain a happy and loving family?
Isn’t it extraordinary that after going through open heart surgery at nine my son is energetic, funny and joyful?
Isn’t it extraordinary that I live in a beautiful, peaceful part of the world without threat or fear?
All these things are remarkable, wonderful — incredible even. To simply have the opportunity to go to sleep in a warm bed and wake up without fear. To have people around me who I love and love me in return. To have access to knowledge and new skills. To be able to travel and experience new places. To eat well, and walk freely. In the course of history aren’t all these things extraordinary?
Knowing this I want to challenge myself to stop thinking of the extraordinary as something that exists elsewhere and to seek it out in the every day. To find it in my children, my friends and family. In the ocean and bush. In the opportunities I receive and my good health. In my ability to enjoy what is around me.
I want to put the extraordinary back into the ordinary.