Life has been exceedingly ordinary lately, by which I mean it has been just fine. Utterly nothing in the way of excitement, but a good deal of satisfaction in the merely ordinary routines of life. When I was in my 20s, such a life would have struck me as boring. Back then, I was deeply attached to emotional excitement and drama, and created insecurity for myself as a means of entertainment. These days, I seek simplicity in all things, and have found that find territory is far more interesting than the world of adrenaline.
The economy is a bit nerve-wracking, and I wish economic times were better so that my son could be pursuing something other than the grocery-store job that lets him pay his basic expenses only. But we've been through such times before, and this recession will likely pass. He is getting by, which is more than many people can say, and will likely do just fine when times improve. My daughter is midway through her college education, which likely means she'll come out into the job market just about the time the economy improves.
I'm in the enviable position of having my health and my faculties, and a job that offers just enough challenges to be interesting without being overly stressful. My wife and I spend weekends cross-country skiing and taking in movies, and going to real estate open houses. Though we're not in the market to buy a house, years ago we routinely went to open houses as a low-cost form of Sunday entertainment. WE never lost the habit, even though we're not ready yet to downsize to a smaller home. There is something quite fascinating about going to real estate showings, especially about the little glimpse of a stranger's life you receive. Invariably, I glance at the books on the shelves to see what I conclude about the personality of the owner. This isn't entirely a voyeuristic habit. My career revolves around home improvement, and I study homes to see what kind of countertops are installed, what brand of appliances are most popular, what kind of styles the decor uses.
Not that there is anything certain about this life; nothing to be taken for granted. One of us could be diagnosed with cancer, or could find ourselves in a car wreck. Or I could lose my job. A fire could destroy the house. Any of a dozen different events could change life in a dramatic direction.
The uncertainty of it all is part of what makes this ordinary life so very precious. Making dinner while doing the dishes and watching CNN is delightful precisely because tomorrow it may not be possible.
This Sunday afternoon will see a two-hour cross-country ski session, followed by a visit to two or three homes on the Parade of Homes, which just opened here. Then we'll chop vegetables to make a home-made Mexican dinner, and settle in to watch that favorite show among middle-aged folks, The Amazing Race.
Life couldn't be better.