Chasing the Extraordinary Moments
“I’m so busy sometimes chasing the extraordinary moments, that I don’t pay attention to the ordinary moments. The moments that if taken away, I would miss more than anything.” – Brené Brown
As I fell asleep that night after watching her Netflix special, I thought, what if I stopped stressing out over the extraordinary moments and started being present for the ordinary ones?
I am somewhat of a perfectionist which produces a crap ton of anxiety. I place way too much value on how an orchestrated moment should feel, or should look, or should be remembered instead of just letting the moment be however it is going to be. I strive to make the movies my real life thinking that if I could just stretch myself a little further to bring this fairytale moment to life, I will experience true happiness.
But it never works that way. I mean, the stress over trying to plan some elusive “extraordinary moment” or even worse, trying to capture it for “The Gram” is astronomical. And then there is the stress during the moment making sure nothing goes wrong and the people who you planned it for are enjoying the moment the way you imagined. And to make matters worse this is often followed by disappointment because you realize that even though the moment went “according to plan,” the level of stress it caused did not equal the level of happiness or appreciation you thought it would. Often times, these orchestrated moments are so draining that I almost black out as it’s coming to fruition. It’s like the relief from the moment being over overwhelms the moment itself and I can’t even remember how it looked, sounded, tasted, smelled, or felt.
Now imagine a moment that brought you pure enjoyment. The kind of enjoyment we think only naïve children can attain and that adults can no longer experience because we know too much. These aren’t moments that take months of planning, that require you to micromanage others, that fall apart if a strict time schedule is not enforced, that cause you to snap at your loved ones because they are not dressed accordingly or in the right mood that day. They are moments that are effortless.
When I miss my father, who passed away in 2013 or my husband who is deployed for about six months for the second time in our one short year of marriage, I think about ordinary moments. I think about my Dad calling me in college two or three times a day just to say, “what’s up.” Or the way he made breakfast nearly every Saturday and Sunday morning consisting of fried bologna, eggs, and pancakes for us girls. Or how he grinned and said, “I’m cool baby” even when something bothered him. I miss watching my husband tie up his flight boots in the morning as I stand in the kitchen and wish him a good day. I miss the way he stretches using these weird poses on top of the covers on our bed before going to sleep.
The moments that we truly value and cherish are not extraordinary, but beautifully ordinary. The ones that come out of nowhere. That are silly. Some are even mundane. They are moments when your mind, body, and soul are relaxed and free from if, when, and how. They are moments when you are truly present, not thinking about what’s next. They are stress-free!
Now, I’m not suggesting that the extraordinary moments I spent months planning for my husband and I’s trip to Thailand weren’t amazing. I enjoyed capturing the “I am carefree playing with this elephant in the water but praying my hair and makeup are still intact” moment and the “we never fight and are always blissfully in love sunrise kissing” moment. But, what I have learned is that you cannot hold your breath waiting to play out your extraordinary moments. 90% of the time, extraordinary moments breed unnecessary stress, bad energy, and overall negatively in our lives.
So stop missing it - missing your beautiful, whole, complex, and sometimes monotonous life.
Stop over planning and under appreciating the small things that make up your everyday existence.
Take the pressure off, lower the expectations, and enjoy the ordinary moments because they are the ones you will miss.