Personal Development

When Did Ordinary Become A Bad Word?

February 5, 2021

I can envision a life well within reach that sounds content and happy. The problem? It also sounds ordinary. When did ordinary a bad thing?

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When Did Ordinary Become A Bad Word?
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When did ordinary become a bad word?

Blame it on COVID preventing me from having a social life and the -30 degree temperatures keeping me inside, but I’ve been self-reflecting a lot lately. Deeply questioning “what’s the point of life” or “why am I doing this”?

It’s a strange feeling simultaneously wanting life to fast forward to the parts I feel will be more exciting & enjoyable while also wanting life to slow down so I can take a breath now.

The worst combination of feelings I’ve found: simultaneously feeling bored & overwhelmed. It’s the worst of both worlds.

During these moments I gravitate to the financial independence movement because it seems like such an amazing solution. Pure freedom to chase whatever makes me feel happy.

The dark side to that?

Perhaps feeling less happy during the pursuit of getting “there”.

As I wrote in my last article, I was considering giving up a lot of things that make me happy today to rocket ship myself towards financial independence faster. It’s like those old N64 games where you steer towards the arrow that will shoot you forward faster so you can win the race…. yet in real life it’s actually putting the blinders on the “now” so you can focus more on the “later”.

What if I want happiness now though? Can I have some now and more later? What is happiness for me?

It’s funny because I know the answer. I’ve always known the answers.

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I love getting out on a trail with my dog.

When did ordinary become a bad word?
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Waking up without an alarm clock.

When did ordinary become a bad word?
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Scaling mountains and being blown away by the views

Drinking delicious coffee in the morning without feeling rushed.

Working out and taking care of my body.

When did ordinary become a bad word?
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Cooking & eating delicious food.

Spending time with family and friends.

They’re all so simple that somehow they don’t feel like “enough”.

A life filled with those things sounds happy. It sounds true to myself. Yet there’s another word that it brings to mind:


That life doesn’t sound special. It doesn’t scream “excitement” or “grand achievement”. It doesn’t sound memorable.

That life does sound content and happy though.

Shouldn’t that be enough? Why does my brain tell me it’s not?

Society has built these feelings of grandeur that your life should be “epic” or it’s nothing at all. I strongly believe social media has been a contributing factor to the increased amounts of dissatisfaction in the world. I no longer just compare my life to that of my peers; now I compare it to the “elite”. When you’re told you can be and have anything you desire, ordinary sounds like a failure. This makes me glad I wasn’t exposed to social media until almost adulthood. Based on the rise of pediatric suicide attempts we’re seeing at work something is going very, very wrong in the world.

How do you step off the endless escalator ride of needing more?

By recognizing ENOUGH. That you’re already enough, and that the simple things you want might be enough. I believe it’ll be an ongoing struggle as the world tells you (and me) the opposite. Enough may not be a destination I’ve arrived at yet, but it’s one I’m genuinely working to find.

I rarely share videos on my blog but I found these two profound and wanted to share. The sense of calm I felt with the opening campfire and lake scene in the first one confirms my “happiness list” above.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Have a great weekend everyone!

When Did Ordinary Become A Bad Word?
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  1. BestCoastFI says:

    Love this! Was just discussing with a friend of mine from high school that we need a “lowered ambition” support group (or just “redefined success”!). Coming from a go-go-go community that prized prestige and high-visibility success makes it so hard to feel good just…. feeling good. Cozy meals cooked in our cozy (small :)) apartment with our dogs, who we love. Successfully ordinary.

    • admin says:

      Yes to all of this!! If the redefined success group becomes a thing please let me know. Cozy is one of my favourite words, so sounds like a worthwhile evening to me!

  2. Great post and an important self awareness exercise you are working through. lately in the reading I have been doing I have realized “contentment” is what I need top focus on. Happiness and Pleasure are great but aren’t sustainable and the constant pursuit can often be unhealthy. So finding that middle ground is key for our mental, physical and yes our financial health. They all work together in a unique continuous circle.

    • admin says:

      Thank you so much! Contentment is a great word and pursuit. There’s always “more” out there…. but do you need it? If so, why? Those have been my thoughts lately!

  3. I feel this so much. I often think of the line from the movie 10 Things I Hate About You where she says “can you ever just be ‘whelmed’?” she’s not exactly talking about this topic, but it’s so difficult to just be, especially in a world of social media and constant stimulation and input.

    • admin says:

      Great movie and good point! “Just be” doesn’t usually lead to spending so it’s in industries best interest to keep us desiring for the elusive “more”

  4. Your pictures are awesome!

  5. Rachel says:

    I really needed this! Since it’s Women’s History Month now my work keeps highlighting incredible women who have climbed the career ladder. I was struggling to figure out why I didn’t feel the same way. I’d rather spend time with my kids and volunteer in the community than be the big boss.

    • admin says:

      I believe focusing on your kids and community can have just as much impact on the world (likely more!) so it’s completely okay for that to be your focus. I read an interesting concept once comparing people to plants. Some people are like tall trees that just want to keep climbing. Some people are likes bushes that spread out far and want to do a bit of everything for variety. Some people are like small plants with massive roots…. they don’t appear to be growing but they’re actually the ones spreading roots and stabilizing everything around them. We need all kinds of plants to keep the earth healthy, and we need all kinds of people to keep society together 🙂

  6. […] I just didn’t ask the question out loud. In a world where so many things appear to be “for the gram” it’s hard not to question people’s true […]

  7. […] Every day you log onto social media and see images of people “living their best life”. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in thinking that every day should feel like a party. If it doesn’t, maybe you’re doing something wrong? Ordinary has become a bad word. […]

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