The Title picture - An Extraordinary Musical Dog, before 1805 Philip Reinagle, R.A. (British, 1749–1833)
"No one lives an average life" - Unknown
I remember this quote from one of the many posts and articles I read on a daily basis. I am pretty sure it was published on LinkedIn and I tried to search for the exact article that contained this quote but was unable to find it. I just recall how it affected me immediately upon reading that simple but powerful string of words. If by chance anyone out there knows of the article or the author I'm speaking of, please let me know.
This short and simple statement could not be more thought provoking. Who I am and who we are at this exact moment is the culmination of every decision, every action, every experience and every thought we've ever had. Delving even further, this would also include the actions of those around us, as well as outside forces that are beyond our control, i.e. Mother Nature and most every other unforeseen circumstance. My mind drifts to movies that remind us of how fate or destiny might play a role in where we find ourselves at certain times in our lives. Amélie (also known as Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain) 2001 starring Audrey Tautou happens to be a big favorite of mine when it comes to the subject of destiny. It's fascinating for most of us to contemplate how destiny or fate plays a role in our lives.
No more is this true than witnessing an automobile accident that happens right in front of us. How many times have we thought, "that could have been me!". Another example would be sitting and investing your coins in a slot machine for 20 minutes just for the next person to hit the jackpot the second you walk away from that same machine. That could have been you! I do have to interject here that I'm not much of a gambler, which could either be because I hate seeing money disappear or that I don't much enjoy the smell of desperation and cigarette smoke in casinos.
We recently hosted a birthday party for my father who just turned 74 years old. Coincidentally, I remembered an accident my dad was involved in when my siblings and I were just little kids. I hadn't thought about it for the longest time and it even surprised my father when I brought it up in conversation. My father worked as a sanitation worker or "garbage man" as they used to call it for 16 years. One foggy morning while crossing some railroad tracks, he heard a loud screech causing him to look up precisely at the time a train was about to collide with his garbage truck. This crossing was not marked and the railroad lights were not working at that intersection. His truck was pushed 2,500 feet from the point of impact. My dad walked away from that accident with only a large cut to his right hand. That same day I remember thinking to my 8 year-old self that I almost lost my dad forever. In fact, I remember thinking soon after the shock wore off that my dad might secretly be the real Superman!
(It's extremely rare to get a picture of my Dad, let alone one of him smiling)
When I brought it up at his birthday party, all he said was that he regretted not suing the Railroad. I was taken aback by this remark making a point to emphasize how lucky he was to be alive and walk away from such an accident. There's no way that fate, luck or destiny did not play a role in my dad's life that day. If one element or circumstance was different, it may not have turned out so well.
Bringing up this old memory opened up the topic of how extraordinary everyone of us really is. How many people survive a train wreck? How many people fall down a waterfall and live to tell about it? Well, you would have to include me in that number. My sister likes to say that I slipped but it makes for better artistic expression to say she must have given me a little nudge - wink, wink (insert laughter). And who could forget those wonder years before seatbelt laws when my sister was sitting next to me in the back of the family station wagon one second and the next out on the street after my dad took a sharp corner turn. All examples of how our unique life story makes us all both extremely lucky and somewhat extraordinary.
When we reach the age of responsibility, marriage, children and careers, the distinguishing factors of our life stories multiply through the specific achievements we make and challenges we overcome. Everyone has lived through a unique and amazing set of circumstances that make us all extraordinary. There is no need to have an aversion to being average or ordinary because no one person is the same and no one lives the same life. Absolutely no one. Even if some may have lived through the exact same ordeal, each person takes away from it a different perspective, epiphany or lesson.
This is the part where I link my topic to my most recently completed furniture rescue project (you had to see that coming :-)). You've seen the "before" state of those Early American Side chairs.
Now for the "After" effect for these lovely's who have been given a bold and fresh new lease on life.
After so many years, who would expect the above pictured chairs would receive a style re-birth? When I look at them now, I can't help but think that whichever home they go to, they will be admired, referred to and in some small way become a nostalgic piece of someone's unique and extraordinary story.
What weird, funny or fantastic part of your history makes you extraordinary? Most likely, you won't have to think long about it to discover you are like no other. What's even better? Your story isn't over! Each day presents us with 24 hours of brand new life experience. It's up to us the make the most of every minute of every hour in each new day.
I'll end this story with the link to a song from one of my favorite artists, Natalie Merchant called "Wonder". Each of us are all one of the wonders of the world!
Wonder - Natalie Merchant