Living Ordinary Lives in Extraordinary Moments

Euphoria have taken over the country the last two weeks. It started with the relentless pursuit of virtual creatures and then went on through the victory of one man, who have become a hero and inspiration for many.

The media frenzy will eventually die down once another major world event happens, but in the meantime, I am suffering from social media fatigue from both news.

Sure we talked about the Champion at home. With K, we discussed how hardworking, determined and motivated he is, to have achieved what he has today. Positive traits that we can all learn from.

Then I posed this question to my hb yesterday morning, ‘Would you have done what the Champion’s parents did for their son, if you have discovered his talent at a young age?’ He answered with a resounding “Of course!” Then he came to a realisation, that hypothetically, this would be any parent would try to do for their child if they could. But realistically, our financial state was not in its best state 6 years ago. It became a challenge to even pay for monthly lessons, so it didn’t matter that K seemed to have showed promise for Tennis or Golf at a tender age of 2.

As for Pokemon Go, K and I discussed about the dangers of getting addicted the game and I showed his articles and photos of the masses who were gathering around a certain neighbour in their pursuit of the virtual monsters. While his school addressed the dangers of phone and game addiction during assembly this week.

The online mobile game does not seem to be not so positive with a group of players disturbing the peace in a neighbourhood and obstructing traffic in other places. And in comparison, there are much positiveness that can be garnered from the Olympic win, since it has provided inspiration for the many to aspire to possible greatness in their ordinary lives. It might have also awaken the latent ’Tiger-Parent’ in some who refuse to consider that their child will just be average.

It is always good to have ambitions, regardless whether it is an aspiration to be the Pokemon Master of Singapore where thousands of fellow Pokemon Trainers look up to, or be that person who have achieved accolades for his/her and become a country’s idol/hero overnight.

Upon retrospection, I realised that both events have a similarity. Both provided the masses emotion highs, although of a different kind, once is caused by instant gratification while the other, celebrates the victory and the glory of one man for the nation.

So what happens after these highs die down, most will be left with the dread of the empty feeling of having to deal with ordinary life. The Pokemon trainers will continue, being drawn to the feelings of instant gratification from the game, while the others will dive into their next goal or objective to reach for their child.

As for the rest of us, who have realised through the years that we are faced with this challenge of having ordinary lives and ordinary children? Pokemon Go is definitely not the answer, and neither do we need to catch them all to find entertainment or meaning from our otherwise mundane life.

There is magic in the mundane, although the world tells you that you need to become this, or have this or that to become happy. I believe we can make the most out of life by finding the joy in the ordinary. Things do not need to change, but our perception do.

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I used to think there was a list of things that my son needed to learn before he turned 6, one of them was reading and writing, then swimming, and the maybe riding a two-wheel bicycle. He got around doing most of the things in the list by 8 years old, but never got to learn to ride a 2 wheel bicycle. I didn’t feel that I needed to splurge on a trainer bike when he was a toddler and like all other milestones, like being toilet trained, or sleeping in his own room, I believe there will be a day he would be ready to learn how to do it.

Just this week, it took him two 30min sessions of learning to balance by going down on gentle slopes on a $90 BMX bicycle, without putting his legs on the pedal. And he can now ride a 2 wheel bicycle at the ripe age of 9 years old.

Some parents might exclaim, “So what, my child could ride a 2 wheel bicycle when he/she was 3/4/5 years old.” You can give your child all kinds of ambitions, or relish in the achievement that he/she could learn to read/write/cycle/swim before a certain age, or even sweep up all the awards in school. Not ensuring my child to swim or cycle before the age of 8 years old, or having a child who do not win any awards or accolades through their academic life will make me any less of a good parent.

I stopped sharing K’s milestones or success in this blog or in social media the last few years, as I reflected on what the motivation behind that. I can be proud of my son doing some things, and hope to have friends in Facebook share my joy and pride, or it might make me look like a good and capable mother, or have a very smart/handsome/capable child but I found all of that pointless.

I rather find joy in the ordinary things and in overcoming ordinary life. And really, the biggest challenge in life comes with finding joy and contentment through our everyday.

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