Being Extraordinarily Ordinary

Do you ever have those days where you feel a little too proud that you were able to accomplish the most basic tasks?

For instance, sometimes I feel overly accomplished when I can do things such as…

  • get out of the house on time instead of three minutes late
  • remember to put the trash on the curb
  • park between the lines on the first try
  • make a doctor’s appointment
  • answer an email right away (I’m skeptical/in awe of anyone who answers all emails right away all the time)
  • manage to ease the brakes and come to a beautifully smooth stop in the car (even though no one is in the car with me, so it’s not like I care)

Yes, it is something to be grateful for that I can do these things in the first place (car, home, opportunities, hooray). But I’m talking about the fact that on some days, I feel like giving myself a pat on the back for doing these absolutely ordinary things.

Like, why?

Let me backtrack a little bit.

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had dreams of being a superstar of sorts. When I figure skated, I wanted to be the next Michelle Kwan. When my brother won the school geography bee, so did I. When I was in middle school, I wanted to write songs and be like Miley Cyrus (LOL). When I danced, I wanted to be like Alvin Ailey dancers. When I read some of my favorite blogs that have become so successful, I want to improve my blog to maybe become like theirs. When I see people doing handstands on Instagram, I want to be able to do a press handstand, like, yesterday.

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The point of me sharing my deepest darkest secrets (not really) is to exemplify our desire to be extraordinary. According to dictionary.com, the definition of extraordinary is:

exceptional in character, amount, extent, degree, etc.; noteworthy; remarkable

And who doesn’t want to be any or all of those things?

I’m generalizing here, but I think when most people consider an extraordinary person, they think of someone who can do what the majority cannot do, or someone who possesses what the majority does not. Therefore, by nature of the word, not all of us can be extraordinary on a large scale.

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excuse the language, but this made me laugh

However, as I have matured (slightly), discovered more about myself, and learned to love who I am, I have accepted that maybe I can just be extraordinarily ordinary.

That sounds like it’s coming straight out of a sob story, but I mean this in the best possible way.

How would I define “being extraordinarily ordinary”? I would define it as going about my daily activities and endeavors with my best effort, a willingness to improve, and a greater purpose.

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Of course, hard work, dedication, and sacrifice are involved in becoming extraordinary. The saying goes something like: If you set your mind to it, you can do it. But I kinda need to tell myself that every day for the littlest things.

I don’t have to be “extraordinary” at anything in particular. I don’t even have to be good at ordinary tasks all the time (um, someone help me learn how to pay taxes…and stuff). I just have to do little things with a purpose in mind, no matter how insignificant the purpose may seem in the grand scheme of things. In God’s time, being extraordinarily ordinary can turn into being extraordinary.

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A lot of the improvement, discovery of self, and truly joyful moments happen when no one is paying attention— when you’re just being an ordinary human (cue this song). That’s where being extraordinary starts anyway.

So tell me:

Do you relate!? Am I the only one who sometimes feels accomplished for doing the most minuscule things right?

How can you be extraordinarily ordinary? I try to pick a personal development goal to work on each day (ex: holding my tongue when I want to be snappy, meditating, smiling more, conversing with more people, etc.).

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20 thoughts on “Being Extraordinarily Ordinary

  1. Oh my gosh yes! I feel so accomplished when I do the smallest things; like remember to bring my clothes up from downstairs the first time so I don’t have to make two trips or fill up my water bottle before going out the door. I really believe its the small things in life that make all the difference!

  2. Beautifully put. This is something that’s been on my mind a lot lately. I am REALLY great at feeling good about doing little things (made it to the grocery store and cleaned the bathroom before work? I’m a success at life!), but that doesn’t stop me from kind of wishing I was the “best” at something (or everything, really). I’m learning that you can be really good at something without being the best, though – and that you don’t even need to be really good to be happy. 🙂

  3. When I manage to make paper go IN the wastebasket on the first try #LebronJameStatus, when I manage to make the little girl I tutor laugh, when I’m the only that can answer one of the teacher’s awards open ended questions… I mean it really is the little things that bring us joy and help develop us into better people. I think everyone wants to become extraordinary at something, however they fail to realize that they begin to neglect the other aspects of their life to do so. Being extraordinary at being ordinary is MUCH harder, because it requires love and dedication to being a good human being at all times, and not just at the one skill you are trying to master. Loved this so much <3.

  4. Yesssss! I completely get and relate to everything you said. Like when I go to the bank or post office or empty the dishwasher without being told to, laundry, or better yet…ironing😯😯😯😂🙈 o boy! Lol
    I love how you set one goal a day so today I choose to get out of my head, off my phone, and be present!!!
    Love you girl. Have a great one 😘

  5. You ARE extraordinary, in your own unique way. You are fantastic simply because you do not try to be anything than the person you are. i find that extremely commendable, Alison. Sidenote:: Your use of a Tina Fey gif made me extremely happy.

  6. I understand exactly how you feel! Replying to letters, doing mundane pieces of homework, practicing piano (even if it’s just for five minutes), brushing my hair… stuff like that wears me out! But hey, it does give me a good excuse to pat myself on the back daily 😉
    I’ll be honest though – being extraordinarily ordinary? That’s hard. It’s hard to be ordinary in a world that strives to be extraordinary. And yet, if all of us conform to be the extraordinary beings our society wants us to be, all of us would just become ordinary all over again. To me, being ordinary is being the raw, vulnerable selves we were born and made to be, unaltered by society’s impossibly high expectations. It’s difficult, but it’s wonderful. It means that we are all unique, and that, I think, is a beautiful thing.

    • “Being ordinary is being the raw, vulnerable selves we were born and made to be, unaltered by society’s impossibly high expectations.” <— That is wonderful, Michelle, and I couldn't agree more. Humbling ourselves is a pretty extraordinary thing in this world.

  7. You are extraordinarily wonderful, Alison. I love your sense of humor (Tina Fey for the win!), your eagerness to try new things, and your compassion towards others.
    I can definitely relate. I feel super accomplished when I don’t correct somebody for something really petty (difference between affect and effect. ahh!) even though that doesn’t happen quite often 😉 That definitely needs to be one of my daily goals!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Alison ♥ I am constantly inspired by your courage, sweetness, and positive outlook on life.
      Ahh correcting people (esp. my family members) on petty things is something I’ve had to work on in the past few years. I actually think being in college around so many different and new people helped a lot.

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