I often encourage myself and friends with the reality that “much of life just isn’t that sexy.” At the end of the day, no matter what your hopes, dreams or aspirations, you really do just have to get on with it. Pay the bills, feed the dog, vacuum the carpet.
Before I continue, you need to understand that by “sexy”, I mean “Brilliant!/Exciting!/Exhilarating!/Mountaintop!/Spectacular!”
Over the weekend, I ooh-ed and ahh-ed along with large portions of the known world over George Clooney’s wedding in Venice. The romance! The water taxis! The impossibly beautiful couture dresses! The hat! Those legs! (Not George’s). Who didn’t sigh at love and companionship so clearly being found – “At last!” – for the most eligible charmer on the planet?
Personally, I thought the wittiest headline was: ‘Internationally Acclaimed Human Rights Lawyer Marries Actor.’ And how true! Clever girl and gorgeous too, good for her.
And so I sighed looking at all the pictures… And then returned to the washing up. And the laundry. And the puppy chewing another pair of my sandals. And my trying to open my child’s brain to long multiplication.
And I thought to myself how glorious those amazing moments in one’s own life are. The big ones, the once-in-a-lifetime ones.
And I thought again that, as fabulous as those moments genuinely are, most of life is not made up of them. Most of my life is made up of the everyday mundane. The humdrum. The common or garden variety of life — it is so easy to take for granted.
Hold your jets a minute. What did I just write? The common or garden variety?
And that’s exactly where my thinking is completely wrong, right? I’m actually embarrassed to think it. How impossibly privileged am I to consider my everyday life as ordinary? For whom else is it so blissfully ‘ordinary’?
Who’s got my ‘ordinary life’ in South LA? Or Syria? Or the Central African Republic? Or Pakistan? Or Iraq? Or the Ukraine? Or my recently bereaved friend? Or my newly diagnosed one?
Who in Syria wouldn’t love to “just play” with their kids when they came home from a school? Who in Afghanistan wouldn’t love to make soup from “whatever they could find in the… FRIDGE”? Who in Nigeria wouldn’t be thrilled that their kids “just had” a stomach bug instead of Ebola?
And I realize I need to shut up with my oh-so-clever witticism about much of life not being that sexy: BECAUSE IT IS.
Isn’t what I consider to be mundane/ordinary/straightforward/non-spectacular incredibly “sexy” just in itself? The fact that everyday, I get to get on with my life?
That I get to be healthy and stay healthy with access to Urgent Care. That I get to get up every morning, get to get my kids fed and ready, buy groceries, own dogs, have bills to worry over, call my mother (on the other side of the world) and take the trash out — because someone will actually come and take it away.
Isn’t the mundane actually the sexiest thing ever? Because we might so easily not have it.
For sure, the great events are mountaintop spectacular. But without the lower slopes, you’d never be able to get there. And you don’t – can’t – actually stay there, can you. It really is an incredible view, but even gorgeous George is going to need to go out for milk sometime.
So I’m going to reject out of hand what the glossy magazines suggest to me. That the gorgeousness of life only happens to very special people (aka very famous people) and “aren’t I lucky that they allow the ‘rest of us’ to see the pictures?”
Ab-so-lute RUBBISH! My appreciation needs to change pronto. How can anything be sexier than the gift of simply being alive?
My nine year old gets it. He leaves the house every morning, throws his hands in the air and says, “Just take a look at that, Mom.” And he means the morning. The new day. The new opportunity to live life in all its bits. To have another go.
So when I can drift into thinking that much of my life “just isn’t that sexy” (in comparison to George, or the neighbors, or the colleague, or a pal, or another mom), I need to re-open my eyes to the fact that NOTHING I have is a given.
Perhaps I will then slap myself awake to the fact that – if I’m still here – each moment genuinely is, actually, extremely sexy.