By Cathleen Elise Rossiter
Last night I went to see a movie. During the pre-previews (do not get me started), there was a commercial (again, do not get me started) for the Mini Cooper. Mini’s tagline stated, “Normal can never be amazing”, going further to ask, “Why would anyone want to be normal?” The commercial changed from depicting drab scenes of men and women in business suits commuting to work, staring blankly at the air, and various scenes of a stereotypical day at the office, to scenes of young Twenty-Somethings engaged in over-the-top activities just for the excitement factor. The message being that responsibility and working hard to build a solid life for oneself is to be mocked – is worthless – while the incessant pursuit of the next wild time is all that matters; that anyone who thinks otherwise is a Loser.
This commercial begged me to ask, “Why is it that we never feel as though our unadorned self is ever good enough to present to the world?” What has happened to us as a society that has brought us to the point where reckless abandonment, with no thought to the consequences of our actions (however harmless we tell ourselves they are), is now considered a trait to be admired and aspired to? We live in a world that gets louder by the because everyone is trying so hard to be heard and noticed above everyone else (a vicious cycle). We seem to have forgotten, and in many cases never knew, that it is the still, small voice that is actually heard above the din.
Think back to your days in the classroom. Which teachers actually had the most impact on you? Which ones did you actually HEAR – the ones who screamed at you to sit down and pay attention because they had something important to cram down your throat, or the ones who sat with you and quietly helped you discover the beauty of the information (and, along the way, the beauty of your own values and gifts)? Quite frankly, the times when I feel the most accomplished, creative, and that I have had made a positive contribution to making the world a better place are the individual, quiet moments of my normal life. Whether I am sitting in a coffee shop full of quietly writing; catching up on the normal lives of my friends, family, neighbors, or perfect strangers; or commuting to work making the train conductor’s day because I look him in the eye, smiling with genuine care and concern when I ask him how he is, it is in these still, quiet moments of my ordinary, normal life that amazing things happen. Humanity is lifted to a higher level because one person cared about another more than her own wants or desires.
At our core, we want to be known for who we are in our unadorned state; we want to be known and deemed worthy as the person behind the masks we wear, our genuine selves. In the world today, we believe that our unadorned selves are not enough, are of no value, have nothing to contribute because we are told that this is true. My mission in the remainder of this year is to prove every day that the makers of the Mini commercial are dead wrong with their claim that “Normal can never be amazing”. On the contrary, normal is always amazing. You just have to want to see it.