On being ordinary

Disclaimer: I use the word extraordinary and ordinary a lot. Seriously, a lot. 

For a long time, perhaps longer than usual, I subconsciously believed that I am unlike others. I had this vision that I am meant to have an extraordinary destiny of achieving something impossible and make myself and everyone else proud. It wasn’t overconfidence, rather, a child like belief.

Partially, I really want to blame my mother. She is the best mother one could possibly dream of having. She would always tell me that I learned to count from 1 to 20 by myself, around the age of 2 after hearing her teach my sister. She would also tell me about the stories and poems I came up with even before I could read or write. She always, even to this day, believes that my sister and I are so talented that we could conquer anything.

I used to write really cheesy poems as a child. Now, I can’t anymore. Whenever I wrote a poem, my mother would go and show it around the house. My artistic skills, by which I mean sketching by copying, was quite good. I could replicate something within my ability quite nicely. But today in a few words, my skills as an ‘artist’ suck. It was her endless support that made me believe I could do anything, anything at all. But doesn’t every child have this thought? When you keep hearing it from such a young age, you just come to believe in it wholeheartedly. The words seem like magic and fills the heart with inspiration for the impossible.

Once I moved back to our house in England a few years ago reality hit me hard. Mostly, because I was associating with new people everyday and everyone had a different background and different dreams and skills and stories. I realised that I was not as smart as I thought I was. I tried passing my first English CAT test without any preparation. I did pass (anyone would), but I didn’t do as well as I imagined I would. It was a defining moment for me because usually, I would simply wing my tests and get good grades. It was the beginning of my ‘you gotta work for what you want’ attitude. Before that, I would simply sit on bed and expect money to appear out of thin air.

I used to read a lot of adventure themed books. Watched a lot of shows and movies about them as well. I was also really into science and the moon in particular fascinated me. I really used to think that I would become an astronaut and visit the moon. I would banish poverty to the black holes in space so that they could never reemerge again. I would make train seats that turned into toilets when you needed it to be while maintaining your privacy with very special curtains (seriously, I even made a sketch of the design) But all of this was when I was a child. Sucks being a kind of grown up.

Now, I am an average student who really wants to get A*s in A levels and go onto to doing medicine in an elite university. But I already screwed up in my ASs and now I have a year to do things right. Currently, I am not doing so well. This would actually make my realistic dream come true because although I have a broad range of interest, something about being a surgeon really appeals to me. I do realise it’s a long process, hard work and years of practise but medicine really is something I feel passionately about and would enjoy studying.

For some reason, whenever I am asked what I want to be, the word ‘writer’ pops up besides surgeon. It’s nothing impossible, at least would be possible if I knew what I wanted to write about. But medical journalism is a thing and I don’t see why I can’t pursue it along with my primary dream career. As for being an artist, I couldn’t.

I have met a few people most of them being (obviously) around my age. Everyone has something going on in their lives. It might sound like a pointless observation. Of course, there’s something going on in everybody’s life. But believe me when I say this, I have nothing outside the ordinary going on. So, when someone reveals to me that something is going on with them, it really interests me. I want to know their story and some how live through their experiences. Sounds sad, doesn’t it? I am like a parasite that feeds of other people’s experiences.

What connect us to each other is the things that we have in common. Our empathy, giving us the capability to relate; to feel sad for someone’s failure and encourage them to go on, to rejoice in their happiness and to be inspired by their success. The things that make everyone ordinary.

I have a generally happy life for which I am very thankful. I don’t have any secret to tell, good or bad. I gain small experiences everyday. I have great parents, although I am mostly close with my mum. A good circle of friends in Bangladesh, a few good friends scattered across England. An unhealthy diet. The struggle of wanting to get good grades but not wanting to study. A part time job I don’t like but won’t leave because there’s something empowering about having a job and the money is kind of necessary. A fluctuating spiritual state but firm faith based on thinking and learning. A fluctuating state of self esteem and confidence. And of course, a period of sadness and a period of happiness. To sum up, a very ordinary life. Nothing remarkably new ever happens to me.

I am in acceptance with my ordinariness. It’s us ordinary people that end up making a difference. How would extraordinary people know what they have accomplished if we didn’t exist? Who would inspire extraordinary acts if not the ordinary itself? The building block of change is ordinary people with an extraordinary vision.


2 thoughts on “On being ordinary”

  1. If you build consistency, discipline and virtue even in the ordinary life, and learn each day, it will take you far over decades, Humayra! Surprisingly, the fable of the tortoise and the hair still holds true today.

    Liked by 1 person

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