Monday, January 18, 2016

Slicing Ordinary

        I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community today, and it's always good to read what everyone shares.  Thank you Stacey, Tara, Anna, Betsy, Dana, Kathleen, Beth, and Deb.

         I've been researching the definition of "ordinary", mostly because that's what my slices of life are much of the time, "ordinary". There seems to be pressure to be "out of the ordinary" or even "extraordinary", and I feel it. I don't mean here for SOL, but out in the world, in ads, on commercials, etc. What I found is that the word has its roots from the Latin root for rule. In that same site, here are synonyms given: common, usual, average, fair, mediocre, middling, characterless, nondescript, commonplace, cut and dried, mundane, routine, so-so, run of the mill, and on. So, how does the root word 'rule' move into the negative? If one follows an ordinary day, that means to me that the 'rule' of the day is that one chooses actions that are done often, perhaps every day, and completed (I'm trying not to use words that evaluate). Sometimes it's satisfying to be done, like when the bathrooms are clean. Sometimes it's lovely when a task is done that one is proud of, like finishing a piece of writing. And sometimes it's something that needs doing whether you like it or not, like paying bills and figuring out the money. 


        There are google images, lots, in response to "ordinary". They seem to combat it with words and images like "wonderfully ordinary" (a mother, father and child in between) and "escape the ordinary" (a goldfish flying out of a bowl of many other goldfish). Hm-m. My ordinary day suits me fine, from the beginning of washing my face, brushing teeth and turning on the coffee, to the errands, the writing, cleaning, reading-all good. Several days a week my granddaughters come to stay after school and I take them home after dinner. Sometimes I have evening plans, most times I don't, so watch a little television, write some more and read. That's it, my "ordinary" life. 
      When I taught full-time, I remember that we relished what we called "ordinary" or "regular" days, when we worked hard to learn and grow through those days and felt satisfied and proud at the end.
         It's okay to live an ordinary life, I'm grateful that I have a nice home, loving family and friends. It's the way my life "slices".  In reflection, I suppose I do have some extraordinarily good times, traveling, etc. Yet, the hours spent with my granddaughters really are ordinary. They play with toys, draw, paint. We read books, We cook and eat. We enjoy being together. I don't believe it's extraordinary. It's life.
one photo from searching for 'ordinary'


54 comments:

  1. Ordinary lives are the lives that most of us, Linda. I enjoy reading the slices about the small things in life that make us reflect. Sometimes, I feel that we should be moving toward a big aha moment but in reality it is the daily internal reflection that makes our words special to us. I love this sentence from your post because it is so real: It's the way my life "slices".

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    1. I love reading those little bits of life, too, Carol. Thank you.

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  2. What a thoughtful reflection! I firmly believe there is power in finding peace,beauty, and contentment in the ordinary. I know I will carry your words with me today.

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    1. Thanks, Molly, you said it well, too, with peace, beauty and contentment.

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  3. I adored this piece Linda. I have always thought that the secret to a well-lived life is being okay with daily life. It's the living for Christmas morning that makes everything else feel tired and long, but those ordinary days are what make up a life.

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    1. Thanks, Kimberley, you can see that I agree wholeheartedly.

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  4. One day well lived built upon another day well lived adds up to a very satisfying life. Nothing ordinary about that. A lot of people are dissatisfied with their lives.

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    1. And I would wish that those dissatisfied were not, could see that this ordinary life is good. Thanks, Bernadette!

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  5. I never think about your slices as ordinary. I think the way you notice and record and enjoy ordinary moments elevates them to extra-ordinary. And I suspect that your granddaughters, when they are old enough to articulate it, will remember that times they had with their grandmother as EXTRA-ORDINARY!

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    1. You are dear to say this, Carol. Thank you, yet my point is that the joy is in the ordinary, the play, the reading together, etc. Perhaps for some that isn't the 'rule' of the day.

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  6. The hard part is when what's "ordinary" is not always what you want to be doing. But we make our own choices and need to come to terms with them, I suppose. Thanks for your extraordinarily ordinary post, Linda. I appreciate that you make me think in positive ways.

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    1. Yes, that "ordinary" dusting is what I don't always wish to do, Michelle. Thanks for your reflection.

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  7. I think a good synonym to ordinary might be necessary or essential. I'm thinking of clean bathrooms and "regular" teaching days. They give us order and comfort in times that are often too interesting. Here's to lots and lots of ordinary!

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    1. An interesting idea, Julieanne, that "necessary or essential". I love that each of us have words that are meaningful in our lives, help us to live them day to day. And I'm happy that you understand about the "regular" teaching days, always so satisfying. Thanks!

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  8. Ordinary is what keeps us sane! I think I'd go crazy if every day were extraordinary. Extraordinary is fun once in a while, but it can be exhausting, too.

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    1. Terrific point! Thanks, Adrienne. That smooth time of day-to-day ordinary feels good.

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  9. And often in today's world, ordinary IS extraordinary! Love this post!

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    1. Thank you, it was interesting to write! The ordinary is pure pleasure, agreed.

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  10. What's wrong with ordinary? After all, how would we know that something extraordinary has happened in our lives if we didn't have the "ordinary" as a base reference?

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    1. Great point. It's the 'push' I feel to do the 'extraordinary' that prompted me to write.

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  11. Linda, I often refer to my 'beautifully ordinary' life. There is nothing wrong with ordinary. Your life is a good one. :)

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    1. Yes, I know, & thanks, Dana. Still, I felt the need to write this, I guess for me and everyone to reflect upon.

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  12. Sometimes when something out of the ordinary happens, we wish for the ordinary. I'll take your ordinary days any day. You seem to have a zest for life and love and kindness. Nothing better.

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    1. Thanks, Margaret, so true about some "extra-ordinary" things.

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  13. Have you ever read Just Another Ordinary Day by Rod Clement? Through that picture book one discovers "ordinary" depends on what is ordinary for you. It's all about perspective. Your ordinary life is rich with joy and blessings.

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    1. I don't think I've read it, if so, have forgotten it. Thanks, Elsie!

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  14. Beautiful, Linda! It's interesting to ponder how the word 'ordinary' took on a negative meaning too. Ordinary days are often seen as boring or mundane. Sometimes I feel guilty when I say that I've had an 'ordinary' day, like I should have made more of an effort to do something interesting or unique. You have shown me that this is not the case. That there is plenty of life lived in what we may see as something that is simply ordinary. Thank you!

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    1. I'm so glad you looked at this as positive, Jennifer. I hope that many look upon their days--whatever they might hold--as just what they want them to be. Thank you!

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  15. Well, this is true and so gloriously you, Linda. Thank you for sharing wise words about the life we are lucky to live, in all its ordinariness.

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    1. You are so welcome, Tara. And thank you for sharing to others.

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  16. So many thoughts!!!! Too many for a comment...maybe enough for a blog post. I love when your writing challenges me and makes me think! Great post, Linda!

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    1. Thank you, Michelle, I am convinced that in our busy lives today that this is important to know that the ordinary is okay.

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  17. This is one of the best things about slicing, I think (or living as a writer in general) -- noticing the ordinary and realizing how special it is!

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    1. Yes, those days with your dear baby are just the best, aren't they? Thanks, Jennifer.

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  18. Your post rings through to my heart. I have not been able to blog because my life has not been ordinary. It has had extraordinary highs and lows....births and deaths....love and loss....I realize that it is HARD to write about the really painful parts of life.....easier to write about the SMALL moments....I suspect you know this already! '

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    1. I have often thought of you, Anita, and wondered how your life is going, hoping that there can be some middle ground found sometimes. Yes, I do know that it's good to find the small moments. Thanks for taking the time to share with me.

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  19. Slicing is about making the ordinary extraordinary. And you do that all of the time, Linda.

    BTW: May I share this post as we lead up to the month-long challenge? Please email me and lmk. I think a lot of people will appreciate it.

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    1. Thanks, Stacey, and I will e-mail you.

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  20. Thank you for this ode to the ordinary. I feel this about teaching preschoolers - somehow, writing about the ordinary doesn't feel like enough...but these are the very best days, when we are in our normal groove.

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    1. Exactly! You must know by now how much I love hearing about your days with those little ones, Maureen. It is in that ordinariness that we learn about living. Thanks.

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  21. I happen to love the ordinary! I am a simple person who doesn't need much fanfare. Some people say it is boring; I say it is perfect!

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    1. Thanks, Leigh Anne, I think we would be very good neighbors!

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  22. There's much to be said for ordinary. Even "hum drum" has music. :)

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    1. Beautiful thought, Jane. Perhaps "hum drum" could be my OLW for the year? Thank you.

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  23. Love this post in celebration of the ordinary. I especially like the way you pointed out "...one chooses actions that are done often, perhaps every day, and completed." Actions that are sometimes satisfying, sometimes lovely, and sometimes something that needs doing whether we like it or not - all part of the choices we make to live an ordinary life. Love the glimpses we get of your days with the granddaughters - lovely afternoons doing ordinary things!

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    1. Thanks Ramona, the days move along, and (except for that heat problem) are simply nice to have.

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  24. Linda, to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, as you have done in this post, is the work of poets. This reminds me of George Eliot's wise words at the end of Middlemarch: "But the effect of [Dorothea's] being on those around her was incalculably diffusive; for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts..." Thank you for all you do to help make this world a more beautiful place!

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    1. Wow, thank you for this quote, Catherine. New to me, and feels good indeed.

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  25. Yes, I think you are right that the extraordinary is celebrated so much in society that the joys of ordinary life are overlooked. I think sometimes about Pablo Neruda writing an ode to salt...he certainly knew how to elevate the ordinary!

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    1. Yes, some of his odes are treasures, aren't they? Thanks for reminding me of them, Tabatha.

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  26. Little things and ordinary life become special when you learn to notice and appreciate them. There are people who want to climb mountains, and others who want to snuggle with a book to be happy. Whose to judge what is better?

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    1. I would hope we just appreciate them all, Terje. Thanks for your ideas, too.

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  27. Thank you for reminding us to celebrate the ordinary lives that most of us lead. In the end, the ordinary will be what defines us--how we made ordinary extraordinary is where we find the real joy.

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    1. You're welcome, Melanie. I certainly agree with you.

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