How Do You Define Extraordinary?

Everyone has a different idea of what being an expat must be like. Many think it’s a glamorous lifestyle of nothing but traveling and indulgence. Maybe, for some, that is exactly what it’s like. For others, it may be mostly consumed of everyday life in what feels like an entirely different world. While it has great allure, beauty and excitement, it can also have moments of loneliness, isolation and hardship. It is life just like anywhere else.

But, it is the change itself that makes this expat life so different from the life I would have had in the states. Not because of the different country and culture, but because of the possible doors that can open as a result.

I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. I think that also makes me believe in destiny. I look back on certain events in my life and think about how every little choice we make affects our future in some grand way. Someday, when I share the story of how M and I met, you will be able to actually see a path of choices that directly led me to him. I can’t deny that it was destiny, even if I sound like a big cornball.

In the states, I had my career, worked full-time and M stayed home with our son. It is completely reversed here. My career that I once knew is, in essence, over. From what I have learned, I can’t pursue the same type of career here. This has me thinking, what will become of my life here? What new door is going to open? What new possibilities do I have with this new life?

When one door closes, another one always opens. I do have moments of great anxiety over this, but it’s just fear of the unknown and of failure. Yet, at the same time, I get excited. It is a chance to do something different; change my path in life. It is opportunity knocking and all I have to do is answer with an open mind. 

Recently, a fellow blogger commented on a post of mine saying she thinks I’m destined for great things. This was an amazing comment; stunning actually. If I am being honest, she is not the first person to tell me something like this. So again, this has me thinking {i think a lot}, what is greatness and how do you define it?

Is it to be a good and loving wife? A dependable and loyal friend? Is it to raise my son to be a good man? Maybe. But to me, these are a given and will be done regardless because they are my own expectations as a wife, a friend and a mother. These are the norm and not the extraordinary. So, could it be to have a successful career?

How will I define extraordinary in my own life? How will I know when I have accomplished something great?

I have always felt something inside me; a longing for something more, something bigger. I feel it way down deep in the core of my being. I can tell you that I have a story; a deep, dark, powerful story. One that I don’t share with many people. It is inside me and I believe it has the potential to be my greatness. And this expat life, may just have given me the opportunity to create it and share it.

What do you think? Do most people feel they have this destiny inside them to be great? To share something wonderful or be wonderful?

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About Deanna H

Successful toddler chaser. Avid wine lover. Aspiring writer. Maybe or maybe not in that order.
This entry was posted in Becoming Myself, Expat Life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to How Do You Define Extraordinary?

  1. Cindi says:

    It’s always so interesting to read your posts, Deanna - you offer such deep and personal insights, and express them so succinctly and personally.

    I am at the other end (somewhat) of the journey you are describing - in that I raised my girls before becoming an expat - but how I defined myself as an American woman (Mom, Wife, Flute Teacher) was stripped away when I moved to Norway. (Still a wife - but a second marriage, and everything is new and different!) I didn’t comprehend how the foundation of my self-identity would be rocked and cracked … and how it still affects the adjustment to this new life almost seven years in.

    I’ve never felt I had a great destiny in store, but looking at my 27 and 30 year old “girls” is something I’m most proud of and I self-define as my destiny. In hindsight, I should have realized that my new marriage and move to Norway combined with the “empty nest syndrome” was going to be difficult. I have been wrestling with “what now?” and, especially, being in a different country has made it more difficult for me…but also opened up online opportunities that I wouldn’t have discovered if I’d been immersed in my old American life.

    Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken is sure applicable as we look back on the choices we’ve made in our journey to our new countries, isn’t it.

    I look forward to reading more of your story as you share it.

    • See, I love hearing how for you, raising your girls was your destiny and your something extraordinary. And by no means am I saying raising my son isn’t extraordinary because he is amazing. :-) Robert Frost definitely came to mind when I was writing this! It is so applicable! Thank you so much Cindi! And thanks for such a personal response.

      • Cindi says:

        Oh, by your words, I *know* the momma-love you feel when you look at your amazing son; as a Mom, I know it will be the foundation of all your decisions from now on. Wherever your destiny takes you - it will be enriched because of your son.

        And, in addition to Robert Frost, can I suggest listening to Dan Fogelberg’s “Netherlands”? Further hijacking your comments section, here’s the lyrics of the last stanza:

        Once in a vision
        I came on some woods
        And stood at a fork in the road
        My choices were clear
        Yet I froze with the fear
        Of not knowing which way to go
        One road was simple
        Acceptance of life
        The other road offered sweet peace
        When I made my decision
        My vision became my release.

  2. pollyheath says:

    I don’t know that I feel the same as you — that I have something extraordinary to do with my life. Hopefully, with time, that feeling will come!

  3. Whatever you do, if you do it with passion and love, that is greatness :)

  4. Often I ponder the concept of destiny and my own belief that I am meant to do something more than settle for a quiet life back in my hometown. Every time I have broken out of that mold though, I seem to be sent back home. I have been an expat now in 3 different countries, and had 3 different visas expire… with no choice but to go back home. There has to be some element of destiny in play here, because each time I did all I could do to find a job, get another visa, and stay. Some things are meant to be, and some aren’t. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up my belief that the “white picket fence” is not for me. I’m just biding my time, waiting for those doors to open, and taking advantage of them when I see them. I am a firm believer in signs - and lately, New Zealand has been popping up EVERYWHERE. Funny, because that’s exactly where I said I would go next when my visa expired in Australia… ;)

    • I agree. That’s how we felt about living in the states. We did our best to make it work, but you can’t force a circle into a square.

      Ohhhh New Zealand! That would be so awesome! I hope you find a way to make it happen. :-)

  5. go Mama O says:

    I like your comment that raising your son to be a good man and being a good wife is a given. I couldn’t agree more! It is crazy - all of the twists and turns that life can take! As they say, “A women’s life can have many seasons.” I am working part time while raising my 2 and 4 year old, and I do feel that a part of me is searching for that next thing - where I can make a difference in another area.

  6. What an interesting question. I’m currently trying to figure out what it means to me to achieve greatness. What will it look like? I don’t know that quite yet, but I think we all have greatness inside us. We just need to find it and use it, you know?

    • I think we all do too, but does everyone feel it? I’m learning through this post that many don’t for whatever reason. It’s so interesting to me that some of us know there is more inside of us and maybe that is what makes the difference. I hope you find yours!

  7. Dee says:

    I love this, especially that paragraph that started with “I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason.” I believe that too! As Steve Jobs said, you cannot connect the dots looking forward.. sometimes something doesn’t make sense right now but someday in the future, it will.

  8. Katie says:

    I love C.S Lewis quotes. They always make me feel like…I’m not alone :) Great post. I really enjoyed reading this.

  9. Everything does happen for a reason. What is never known until after the fact. So I don’t think too much about things like that anymore. I am very much intrigued by your comment about a a deep, dark, powerful story…

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