How To Live A Life Less Ordinary
When I first thought up the title of this blog, ‘lives’ was intended to be the plural of life. You see, I had a grand scheme which involved me interviewing ‘ordinary’ people, in order to show that no-one is actually ‘ordinary’. This is something that I passionately believe in; there is no such thing as an ordinary life. Our thoughts, our actions, our personality, and our perspective, all render us completely unique. Think of it like this – when you first meet someone new, and you start feeling comfortable in their presence, what you begin to do is share stories. Through these stories you divulge not just previous experiences or past memories, but you also share the way that you view life, the way you see the world and your own position within it. And, in turn, so does the person you’re busily conversing with. Pretty soon, you both come to appreciate that the other person is quite unlike anyone you’ve ever met before. They may have had similar experiences as yourself, but they couldn’t possibly perceive those experiences in a way identical to your own. They are unique.
So, what happened to the interviews with these “less ordinary” people? Well, I decided that perhaps it wasn’t actually the best way to communicate my passionate belief, but I didn’t quite know what was. At the time, I was writing another blog which cornered me into a very narrow niche, and I was feeling really quite disenchanted with my writing and my general direction in life. One day, however, I just decided that, as I had already taken the time to set up a WordPress blog with the title Lives Less Ordinary, I would just start writing in it, and my topic would be whatever entered my head. What occurred next was something that I never could have predicted; my writing and my photographs led me to re-evaluate my life, and pretty soon I realised that the title was not a temporary makeshift solution, it was, in fact, an ongoing demonstration of my belief. The ‘lives’ was no longer the plural form of ‘life’, but the present tense of the verb ‘to live’. I was showing the way that I try to live consciously, in the knowledge that I, my perspective, my memories, my experience and the stories I choose to share, are original and special.
Now, I want to make it absolutely clear that accepting that you are a special, unique individual need not consign you to isolation. If anything, I think my blog shows that I exist within a complex network of my on and offline communities, my urban, suburban and rural environments, and that my life is richer for that. By acknowledging that you are special, that you are a one-of-a-kind, you begin to accept that your choices and your desires, your voice and your dreams have a validity and a resonance. Consequently, through your many daily interactions, you find that you can step up the plate, and say your piece with the confidence that comes from the understanding that no-one else can speak with your voice, and that you are capable of making a valuable contribution.
With this in mind, I’d like to give some ideas for how you can consciously embrace your less ordinary life:
- Share your thoughts, your ideas and your words with as many as you can. If you haven’t started a blog yet, start one now. There are many blogs about blogging which will guide you through the technicalities of setting one up. What I’m more interested in is how blogging guides us to the realisation that what we have to say matters; it matters to others and it matters to ourselves.
- Reawaken your curiosity and engage with your environment. Pay attention to the details, and vary the way you look at things. The way I do this is by carrying my camera with me at all times. I am always on the look out for the next photo opportunity. Get up close, look up high, investigate the places you once thought of as familiar. Oh, and make sure you report back on your blog!
- Actively seek out others who are secure in their own individuality. There are plenty out there, and they’re not usually hard to find. Being secure in their own skin means that they are the ones who speak out. They let others know about their ideas and their beliefs. Follow their example, but make sure you retain a clear sense of your own identity. The idea is to celebrate you as the fabulous person you are, not you as the pale imitation of someone else.
- Connect with your passion. Figure out what it is that makes your nerve endings tingle with excitement, what sets your soul aflame. Once you’ve zoned in on that special something, you’ll find it hard not to accept that your voice is important, and the narratives that you choose to share are both vital and necessary.
- Embrace your creativity. Start by believing that you are a creative person, and then prove it to yourself by responding to stimuli as innovatively as you can. Pick up your pen, paintbrush, camera, musical instrument and give yourself permission to play. Don’t allow your doubts to inhibit your creative response, and don’t judge it or compare it negatively with the creativity of others. Just let it be what it is, and celebrate it for all that.
If there’s one thing that you can take away from this post, and from this blog in general, it’s that everyone – and that includes you! – is a special, unique individual with the potential to create, to engage and to inspire.
You are already living a life less ordinary. Make the most of it!