Live Ordinary Well: A Definition

For a little over a year now, we have been touting the phrase "live ordinary well," but we have not taken the time to explain its meaning. Ordinary gets a bad rap. Anytime someone uses the word "ordinary", negative, below average ideas populate the imagination.  A common formulation states that Ordinary + Extra = Extraordinary.  Isn't this just reiterating that who you are and what you do, your ordinary life, isn't good enough?  Doesn't this become another form of cultural marginalization? Are not ordinary folk as good as extraordinary folk? This statement implies two sides of life - those who live dull and undesirably (read ordinary) and those who change who they so they can actually be of value (read extraordinary).  To the contrary though - you, me, us - we are already somebody; we are uniquely us.  The problem is not the ordinary; problems arise when our ordinary, unique selves fall into unchecked routines, those that make up our days without thought or challenge. Rather than institute the hard work of change, we label our lives as ordinary and justify the ways that we literally and figuratively become observers rather than active participants of them.

#liveordinarywell defines itself by requiring intention of everyday life. It is, quite literally, to live our ordinary lives well because the daily choices and experiences, not the rare one-offs, vacations and weekends, that compound over lifetimes and craft our stories.  The ordinary is where we spend the majority of our time. Our lives are a series of rather ordinary elements -  buying groceries, planning schedules, connecting with our families, loving spouses, and the list goes on to include every detail that make up our days. It is so unfortunate to presently live in the past, the glory days gone by (which why do we call them that?), and every bit as unsatisfying to look to a constantly unrealized future for fulfillment, all the while sacrificing that which is present and vibrant, the every day ordinary.  Living for the weekend is a normalized reality for those in full-time work and is literally the statement that 71 percent of one's life belongs to someone else so much so that the highlight of the week is to escape ordinary life.  

To live ordinary well is to reclaim our ordinary lives on a daily basis; it is values-based living in opposition to culturally-based living.  To live ordinary well is to decide that the values you choose guide your life rather than the dominant values of culture. Instead of motivating people to be other and extra, why not reclaim and re-imagine our individual and collective ordinary?  Why not live that life well instead of leaving it to accomplish a perceived better? It is within our every day, ordinary lives that our stories are written, and the stories we tell are that which remains when we do not.  Your story is worth remembering, so why not use your ordinary life to write it?
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself ANY direction you choose.
(Oh the Places You'll Go, Dr. Seuss)

Here's to Living Ordinary Well!