Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ordinary Experiences

I read an interview of Kyran Pittman, author of Planting Dandelions: Field Notes From a Semi-Domesticated Life, in which the interviewer (Gretchen Rubin) noted Kyran’s “emphasis on finding happiness in the small, ordinary details in life…” I do want to find her book at the book store and read more about her intentions and revelations.

Ordinary life is my life. I am not a Hollywood star, politician, famous author or athlete; I am an ordinary person doing ordinary things. My days are filled with interactions with other ordinary people.

As my 68th birthday approaches I wonder am I happy? I’ve written previously about happiness but I really think I want fulfillment and meaning. How will I be remembered by my family, friends, co-workers and people whose lives that I’ve touched? Some days I have more questions than answers and perhaps that is good. Not being sure keeps me on my toes.

Last Tuesday I needed to go a plumbing wholesale company to purchase a new toilet for my office. As I approached the sales counter someone called out my name. It was a former co-worker who I hadn’t seen in at least twenty-one years. A bit older, more gray and a few pounds heavier but still recognizable as the friendly hard worker that I remembered. We chatted and caught up on news of the many people we knew from our time together. Information on who was dead, sick or still working. Another former co-worker joined and brought me up to date on his children’s lives, children who I have recollections of as toddlers. Both of their faces were smiling during our twenty minute reunion.

He recounted in a recent conversation with a few of the other old-timers someone asked, “What happened to Warren?” At least I wasn’t forgotten. I made my purchase and he helped me out with the toilet. Very ordinary.

As a manager in our previous association I couldn’t exactly remember some of the circumstances of our relationship. When we parted I apologized for any missteps from the past.

“Oh, no. You were the best,” was his answer. Being highly regarded was better than merely not forgotten. A chance encounter, an ordinary exchange of remembrances put a bounce in my step the rest of the day. My ordinary day was exceptional.

I feel ordinary and that is great. When we celebrate my birthday this weekend with my family I will appreciate the ordinary. A simple meal at home, a homemade dessert, and a gift card (my usual and appreciated gift) to the book store where I probably will buy Planting Dandelions. I love being ordinary, it’s so special.

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  1. Do you remember when we went to a Spurs game at Hemisphere arena and you knew the garage attendant?

    See ya tomorrow.

  2. And I got a friendly response. Once I (we ??) went to a game and the beer guy almost cried when he heard that Pop Charlie died. That is making an impact!