Valuing the Ordinary

In the recent holidays, I thought that I should watch some of the very best movies. Many a times it happened that I started watching a movie, did not find it enough entertaining and either stopped it or watched it in a fast forward mode. Only one or two of them did I truly watch from the start to the finish.

Since I like playing and watching football (soccer), I also decided to dedicate 10 minutes a day to watching short highlights of the day’s matches, which mostly contained just the goals during the match. After a few days of watching goal after goal after goal, instead of the whole match, I admit that I was losing interest in one of my favourite sports.

Needless to say, the situation on YouTube was even worse. Watching even a 5-minute video was becoming difficult for me. And then I came to know what the problem was.

The ordinary was missing. I feel too much freedom because the restriction of choice is missing.

I remember when I was a kid, this was the time of no Internet or cable television, we used to rent a movie after carefully choosing one out of three or four possible choices. And then we committed to it. We had to watch it all because that was the only movie present in our home and there was no other choice.

Sometimes it turned out to be great. Sometimes it was ordinary. Sometimes it was really boring. However, it was only after having a few bland experiences that we used to truly enjoy one exceptional movie. The sequence of ordinary choices was actually preparing us for ‘the’ entertaining experience.

This is the same with the food. After having some ordinary days of eating, we tend to appreciate more one delicious meal.

In Internet age of on demand attractions, we sample the very best of them, thus missing the average experiences. As a result, our expectations rise and we start sorting out the very best from the just the best. Then, we only enjoy the very best and just the best becomes ordinary. That is a very tough situation to be in.

I recall the story of Buddha who ran away from the luxurious life he was leading with everything available to him. Probably in the sense of digital entertainment, we are all becoming like him. We should remember that after experiencing everything, he concluded that life is a form of suffering (or at least temporary, according to another version).

I think that we should slow down and appreciate the ordinary for the explicit value it provides.

The ordinary also teaches us commitment, even if we don’t realize it at that time. Whether it is a movie, food, book, or anything else, experiencing the ordinary embeds the virtue of commitment in our character. This is very useful because every life is going to experience the ordinary for most part. We get used to not getting a stimulating sensation all the time which leads to a stable and calm life.

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