What is a life extraordinary? Well, to start, it’s my blog’s tagline.
I remember creating what would become my site’s subhead — though at the time, I wasn’t anticipating that it would actually serve as a tagline for Passenger Conners. I was simply reading Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map, which teaches you to fathom not your ego’s goals (ie, a promotion to VP, a shiny red sports car), but rather, your “core desired feelings.” How do you want to feel each day, each year? What feelings do you want to embody to experience a full and whole and shimmering you?
I dutifully did the exercises and came up with my list of desired feelings, and after really meditating on them, thinking about an overarching theme to them all, I distinctly remember picking up my pen — taken from my hotel room, because I was on vacation in Curaçao at that particular moment — and scrawling down in my Moleskine notebook, “live a life
less ordinary EXTRAORDINARY.”
You see, at first, my instinct was to write down that old catchphrase, “live a life less ordinary.” But as if my soul or spirit were guiding my hand, without thinking, I instinctively scratched it out, replacing it with, “extraordinary,” scrawled in enormous, capital letters.
In that moment, I became aware that I did not, in fact, want a less ordinary existence, I wanted a heaping bowl of extraordinary. I want to look back on this life and see glittering moments of love, joy and kindness, caring and passion, truth and gratitude. A whole, whole lot of love and gratitude.
Easy enough, right? Ha. That moment by a hotel pool on a Caribbean island happened about 2 years ago, and trying to live up to that overarching, desired existence is an ongoing, very conscious act that I work on daily.
This desire has gotten me thinking long and hard about what makes a life extraordinary — both for me, and for those around me and beyond.
I can only answer to my own truths of what defines a life extraordinary, which largely involve enormous moments and experiences, like wholly loving my family and friends; grasping as much of the world as possible while I travel the globe; creating a rather unconventional lifestyle of location independence; letting as many lives touch mine as I can; looking my fears and demons in the eye and not running from them or telling them to shut the hell up but to sit and hold hands with them and say, “It’s ok, you’re a part of me, too, but you will not rule me.”
Then there is presence. To be present.
I’ve long been convinced that meditation and being present is the answer to pretty much everything good in this life, but of course, it’s not something I’ve come close to accomplishing — but I work at it; I sure as heck work at it.
It’s in that desire to be present that I find all the little moments and things that are beautiful and joyful and which for me, add up to a greater, extraordinary life: things as simple as falling asleep to the sound of crickets in the summer, appreciating a perfect cup of tea as I sip it, enjoying the pleasure of a creative routine, tasting the perfect plate of briny oysters. It’s all there, and together it adds up to something beautiful.
You see, I did start Passenger Conners as a travel blog, but I don’t believe traveling is what makes a life extraordinary, at least not on its own. And I believe for everyone out there — anyone reading this — the moments and things that make their lives extraordinary are ones I may know nothing about: like sharing a giggle with their children or saving lives through medicine or service.
Extraordinary lies in the details of how we choose to exist. It differs for each of us. It happens consciously, actively — it’s something to work on, always. It’s strengthened by gratitude and perspective. It’s there when we embrace whom we love, as well as what we dream of doing. It’s there in during life’s small and beautiful moments and the routines that help us blossom. It’s there when we are present.
What makes your life extraordinary? What defines some of your core desired feelings in this life?