I have just finished this extraordinary book that celebrates the ordinariness of life. This struck a chord deep within. I remember railing in my journal three years ago about the propensity or sheer desperation with which people were pursuing hedonism, summed up in the phrase “living it large”. I wondered why we weren’t content to live small, why we couldn’t celebrate simply being alive and alive to the wonders around us. My guess is that those who find contentment in the ordinary are not natural shouters, perhaps they are more humble people.
I used the internet to search for clues on how to be more humble, not using mirrors was one tip. That got me thinking about glass. I’d been told that until the invention of glass and its use in houses as windows, people had no idea about the state of filthiness in their homes. With the light shining in through their windows they could properly see and this is how the first impressions about a household’s cleanliness were formed. This seamlessly leads to the way advertisers have been able to illuminate us about all sorts of human failings. Before advertising we didn’t really have strong opinions about how people smelt, their odours, malodourous or otherwise. Along with the information that products could make you smell better, came the beginning of us assessing a person by their scent. Critical how this has invoked all sorts of societal fears. These fears help to drive consumerism. This busyness with consumerism helps to eat up our time, leaving us with little time to think in a more philosophical manner.
When we use our time to think deeply, emotionally, rationally, we are more likely to see how precious an ordinary life is. Not in a “how special am I” way, but that we are not alone in being. It is this commonality of experience, this sharing of life that makes it all bearable. Recognising this is the essence of a happy life.