After graduating college (four years ago) and getting a job (okay, a few jobs), I can’t honestly say I know what I want to be when I grow up.
However, separate from what I do professionally is who I am. I passionately and constantly seek out extraordinary moments, regardless of my day job. I crave experiences that make me feel alive and connected on a higher level. My ideas of extraordinary living usually involve travel of some kind; but that is what speaks to my soul.
Then I became curious about how others experience extraordinary moments in their lives. I’ve always wanted to live an extraordinary life, and I had the sneaking suspicion that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Generally, extraordinary is defined as anything unusual or different from what is normal or ordinary.
But I was interested in others’ personal definitions of extraordinary applied to their own lives. I asked friends and acquaintances from around the world with different livelihoods what they considered to be extraordinary in their lives. For some, this question provoked deep reflection; for others, it was a snap response. I love how their answers are personal and varied.
By asking each of them what they do for a living, I learned what they did. By following that question up with their last extraordinary moment, I learned who they are.
It’s a great conversation starter; ask people how they find time for extraordinary moments, and what their idea of “extraordinary” is. You may even connect with someone on a deeper level after having learned something new about him or her. This is what I learned from my friends about extraordinary living:
Marisa / 20 / New Zealand / student: “Mountain climbed up a volcano. I defied my limits and tried something I never thought I’d physically be able to do.”
Mary / 30 / California / barista: “I performed a choreographed boy band [show] dressed in drag as a male persona with four other people.”
Rebecca / 34 / California / hair artist: “Kept my daughter home from school today and communed with a rockstar.”
Angela / 41 / California / nurse: “I went skydiving.”
Sarah / 31 / Washington / mother: “First work from motorhome adventure to Port Townsend.”
Stevie / 27 / California / medical billing: “Gave birth to [my son].”
Robert / 56 / California / CEO: “I’ll be out of town this upcoming week. I’ve arranged for flowers and strawberries to be delivered to my wife on Monday, a cookie bouquet on Wednesday and long stem roses on Friday.”
Mike / 27 / Australia / unemployed: “Swam with sharks”
Andres / 25 / California / food service professional: “I delivered my daughter at home with my bare hands.”
Nina / 59 / California / physician: “I went on holiday and read an entire book.”
Amber / 26 / California / fitness student: “I felt extraordinary teaching my first cardio kick boxing class.”
Diego / 20 / Honduras / dentistry student: “I gave money to a kid with low resources so he could buy toothpaste.”
Mark / 25 / Philippines / financial consultant: “On a recent trip, I learned how to surf the majestic waves of Puraran beach.”
Liela / 76 / California / retired: “Became a grandmother to my seven granddaughters.”
Gina / 27 / Philippines / insurance verification: “I started to invest [in] health. Been exercising and eating healthy food.”
What’s your idea of extraordinary living? What if you were only as extraordinary as your last adventure?
Author: Heather Kleiman
Editor: Caroline Beaton
Photo: Courtesy of the author