Essay: Uneventfulness

Mar 27, 2020

Several years ago, I heard a woman give a talk about a trip to Greenland where she lived with theInuit people, traveled by dog sled, ate raw seal meat. It wasn’t the kind of vacation most of us would choose—but for her, it was life-changing.

Not as a triumph of endurance but because she learned so much from the Inuit. “They are peaceful,” she said. “And they don’t talk much, only when necessary. There is no personalownership; they share everything.” The list of what she learned was long but the one that struck me was this: “The Inuit strive for a life of uneventfulness.” “Uneventfulness!” Hard to imagine as a goal in our busy world. On the contrary, we are forever seeking grand adventures and peak experiences. Without them, we consider our lives boring, convinced we’re missing something. Yet, if I step back—and sit down—I have to admit (secretly, of course) that I think the best days are the ordinary days. When I can stop hurrying, stop accomplishing, and do nothing more than nothing much. When I can savor familiar routines like reading the newspaper in the morning with a cup of coffee. Reading about all the events from my blessed place of uneventfulness.