The other night I dreamed I gathered all my friends and family together because I had something important to say. At the last moment, my bosses from work showed up. My husband’s extended family came. Random acquaintances and strangers from the internet arrived. The room was full and everyone had something they wanted to share.
At last, it was my turn. I stood up in front of them all, all those expectant faces, waiting to hear what I’d called them all here for. That semi-conscious part of my mind hovered over the room, as curious as the rest.
My dream self took a breath. “I have always dreamed of having an extraordinary life,” I said. “But I’ve come to realise it is a far more noble thing to desire a life of quiet and ordinary joy.”
I told the room that I was a writer, and I didn’t need my name on the spine of a book to fuel and feed me. That I had a joy no one else could give me and it came from a pen and a blank notebook page.
I told them in my childhood dreaming I’d never imagined I’d be doing this kind of work, this humble, physical task of hauling bags of fertiliser and preaching the wonders of weedkiller. But that this is the best job I’ve ever had and I am so grateful that I get to use my hands in good, useful ways. I come home from work each day with dirt under my fingernails and hair in my eyes and I would have it no other way.
I told them I’m studying economics right now even though it pushes me far, far outside my comfort zone, even though it brings me weekly misery and I have no chance of making anything better than a passing grade. I told them this because I’ve come to understand the importance of humility, of shaking off your own understanding of your limits like an old winter coat. I’m studying economics because I want to find small, practical ways to help other people. I’m studying economics because I no longer accept the lie of “I can’t”.
I told them I have an incredible husband and the great, fulfilling ordinary kind of love that occurs when two people commit to serving each other in everything they do. I told them I have a puppy and a roof over my head and a regular paycheck. I told them sometimes I get to travel and sometimes travelling means driving to the beach. I told them I have a quiet, gentle relationship with the Holy.
I told them there’s nothing else I long for.
I am content with my humble, ordinary life and the humble, ordinary joy it brings.
The other day I came home from work while the sun was still shining. I smelled my blooming jasmine and picked up after my puppy and watched the sunset for awhile and I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
This is what I dream of. To have this quiet, ordinary, creative, love-filled life for the rest of my days.