As many of you know, I use Headspace daily. Doing so has changed my thinking so profoundly that I'm coming off antidepressants for the first time in nearly a decade.
I like to begin each morning with Headspace's daily meditation, which is always different. This week, one of those meditations guided me through the idea that we are all ordinary. In that ordinariness, we can find a shared sense of humanity.
What I like about this thought is that it doesn't mean we can't be unique. If we're all unusual, then our differences are to be expected. Each of us is a fingerprint, individually remarkable in our own ways. The whorls of our existence spiral in ways familiar only to us. Yet, in that individuality, we all leave an impression. A smudge on the window. An imprint in flour dust on the kitchen counter. The trick is not to be distinctive; it's to discern the particulars of those around us.
Here are some of my particulars:
I enjoy seltzer water. In fact, I'm drinking a Pamplemousse La Croix as I write this. The bubbly essence of grapefruit reminds me of childhood mornings slicing open those great pink balls of tart joy. I liked to sprinkle a bit of sugar on top of each half before scooping out and savoring each segment of pulpy effervescence.
I try to walk around my neighborhood at least a few times per week. The scenery remains similar from day to day, but things change as the months pass. Sometimes it's flowers blooming or pollen falling. We're coming up on oak leafroller season when those lime green and highlighter yellow caterpillars begin dangling from the trees. No more than an inch long, I often run into them before I see them. Their silk strands tangle in my hair, and it's difficult to tell where I end and they begin.
I don't water my plants on a consistent schedule. I tried to; I even got one of those apps that tells you how often to water your specific plants. I never listened to it. Now I just look at the plants. Does the soil look thirsty? Are the leaves shriveled? Did I happen to walk past the windowsill and think Oh shit, I haven't watered these in a while? All my green friends are alive, so I guess whatever I'm doing is working.
I like smoking cigars. Doing so is like performing an ancient ritual. First, I pluck my preferred stick from the humidor and run it under my nose. Like sniffing a glass of wine or bourbon, the scent prepares my taste buds for what comes next. I cut the cap off the top and take a dry puff, introducing my taste buds to the tobacco. Then I flick open my Zippo with its etched floral case and use the butane insert to toast the cigar's tip. Once it's evenly scorched, I bring the flame closer while taking a few puffs. My mouth acts like a blacksmith's bellows, mixing air and fire to coax the cigar cherry to life. For the next hour or so, the smoke is like a mantra. Whether watching sports, reading a book, or writing to you all, every puff is a pause, a reminder to be present.
There are others in the world who can describe themselves with these sentences. But no one else arranges them quite like I do. I am completely ordinary, just in a different way than you are. You and I are distinct, but because of that, we are precisely the same. We're all finding our way. We borrow from each other and try on different masks and cloaks. We are ever-changing, constantly recreating ourselves, just like everyone else.
What makes you ordinary?
Until next time,
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Me and Linus in the same newsletter, swoon! Jim bought me a Swayman jersey for my bday cuz I adore him. Those little details about people - the cigars and grapefruit - they fill out a person so roundly; i love it. Thanks for all your words.