I've always wanted my life to be extraordinary. I think that everyone dreams that when they grow up, they will lead an interesting life full of romance and excitement. The real life equivalent of a roller coaster. It's quite possible that those who experience a mid-life crisis are those people who have clung to this dream for so long that they believe it is essential to their happiness, and have recently come to the conclusion that it is not going to happen. It is too late.
I have always been determined that I won't be one of those people. That when I get the end of my journey, I won't say, "If only I had...". I had vague dreams of living the life a glamourous celebrity: travel, riches, trendsetting. Not surprisingly, my life is nothing like that. Travel is going to the in-laws for dinner. Riches is deciding to get an extra shot in my latte. Trendsetting is finding a cute winter hat for The Boy, and gloating whenever someone asks me where I found it (WalMart, $6.49). Ahh, the life of a glamourous mum!
I've often wondered - have a settled? Have I chosen to take the easy, comfortable route?? Is there some life out there that I should have, some road not taken??? And then I feel immediately guilty for thinking such insurgent thoughts. And then I curse myself for feeling guilty. After all, people are free to think what they want. Thinking is not reality. Thinking is not even wanting. Thinking is just that - thinking. Everybody imagines the "what if" scenario. It's these fantasy scenarios that allow us to muddle through the more mundane tasks of life.
Today, The Husband and I went to see the musical Pippin. For anyone who doesn't know the show, and mostly only diehard musical fans know of it at all, it is about a young man who believes he is extraordinary. He "wants (his) life to be something more than long". Accordingly, he spends a very long time trying out various roles (warrior, king, lover, "husband/father") only to quit them because they just don't fit. They're too ordinary. He believes there is something more out there for him. At the end of the show, the Lead Player suggests that the only proper finale for an extraordinary person is to, in one final moment of beauty and purity, light himself on fire. A grand exit for a great person! Pippin refuses, realizing that he doesn't really want the applause and the acclaim, but rather that he had found happiness when he found a widow and her son, and stayed with them for a year playing (unwillingly) the "mundane" role of husband/father:
I'M NOT A RIVER OR A GIANT BIRD
THAT SOARS TO THE SEA
AND IF I'M NEVER TIED TO ANYTHING
I'LL NEVER BE FREE
I WANTED MAGIC SHOWS AND MIRACLES
MIRAGES TO TOUCH
I WANTED SUCH A LITTLE THING FROM LIFE
I WANTED SO MUCH
WE NEVER CAME CLOSE, MY LOVE
WE NEARLY CAME NEAR
IT NEVER WAS THERE
I THINK IT WAS HERE...
In short, I guess, it is the idea that the extraordinary is found in the everyday. We are extraordinary every day that we wake up beside the person that we love. We are extraordinary every day that we pass that love on to our children. We are extraordinary in the mere creation of that most magical thing called: our family. What may seem "mundane" to an outsider is an integral thread in the fabric of existence. Money, power, celebrity are all wonderful things, I'm sure, but what are they worth if you have no one to share them with.
I have just started volunteering at the library, and the student that I was working with was asked to name his favourite things, and what did he write down? Not TV, or sports or candy. He wrote: "my family". Out of the mouths of babes...
I have found my corner of the sky. I'm mighty glad I did. Now I have the chance to be truly extraordinary.