The ordinary life

​“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dearly; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life…” Walden, Henry D. Thoreau

I’ve come to realize I love the ordinary life. It seems to me the busy life or extraordimary life can be great, but that’s not the route I’ve decided to take. I’m opting for a slower one, but meaningful nonetheless.

Being busy can be compared to walking around in circles, but never arriving anywhere. This, I believe, is no way to live. I would expect the simple act of getting out of bed most mornings to be quite the effort. 

The ordinary life, I must warn you, comes with advantages as well as disadvantages. There is on the one hand, wide enough margin to stop and smell the roses along the way, but on the other hand, boredom may be experienced should one not be able to embrace the opportunity that a run-of-the-mill lifestyle brings.

Does mundane indicate meaningless? Absolutely not. We can live life as deliberately as we wish, if only the focus is life. This is not settling for less, as we actually gain more life. Extraordinary or not, if devoid of purpose, life is not life, it is merely a time-killing existence.

We should pursue the things that matter, not the ones labelled as important, but what we value as being important. Life is just too short to be chasing after temporary things, so why not seek after what is long-lasting and significant? Why not focus a little more on the everyday? And who cares how you live your life? It is no one else’s. 

The slow life may be portrayed as mediocre, but that is not the reality. With only the essentials left in our calendar, our to-do list, our closet, our house, our garage, our relationships, our digital devices, our plans and gour goals, we finally have the space needed to achieve the things we want. 

The future is now clearer, more purposeful, and simpler. No more unmet expectations for an out-of-this-world lifestyle, which might have been far from the present reality and in turn caused frustration and discontentment. Passion is grounded on the desire to add value to other people’s lives, to contribute, to leave this world a little better than when we arrived. 

Everything else is banal and futile, a chasing of the wind. The size of the house, the make of the car, the latest gadget and fashion trend, followers on social media or influencer status. Do these things really make up life? Do they really bring the ultimate fulfillment?

Related reading: 10 Reasons Why Quitting Facebook is a Good Decision

My advice to you is to live intentionally in order to live a life worth living. Happiness, in the end, is right in the present moments, spent in the quietness of a Saturday morning, shared in a cup of tea with a close friend, out in the backyard in the summer with family, enjoying a fun conversation under the stars. The moments are endless, and ordinary enough to bring extraordinary joy. I hope we can all see that it really doesn’t take the pursuit of an extraordinary lifestyle to find that out.