Too often we seem to be so indulged in the familiar that we tend to ignore everything that “new” may have to offer us. We turn down every opportunity to experience anything new without even realizing that we’re turning into slaves of the familiar. We return to the same stores for shopping, pick coffee from the same coffee shop, drive on the same streets and buy the same vegetables and fruits and bread. We irrevocably shut our eyes to the new, which while in the beginning may have been a conscious decision, over time turns into a trained behavior.
Last month when I moved to Seattle and entered the Starbucks here in South Lake Union, I noticed all the newness of the store. I saw the mugs which had the little Space needle drawn on them and said “Seattle”. I saw the various chalk boards with Seattle facts written on them, the menu board looked different and was way broader than the Starbucks in Dallas. The furniture was a different make, there were more bar stools than I’ve ever seen in any Starbucks. By intention I stood at the last of the line and kept letting people go ahead of me so I could spend a few more minutes looking at the things around. A few times in that store, and I’ve stopped noticing everything, even things that have been new since I came to it the first time. Last few trips, I enter the store, go straight to the checkout counter and anyone ahead of me in the line is a time blocker, order my regular Chai and wait for it to come while staring at nothing, probably waiting anxiously for the server to announce my name so I can be out of there. Sure, I have a to-do list, but still. Whatever happened to my ability to notice new things….
Familiar is boring, familiar is absent. It makes you run on auto pilot. It makes you think of all the things you don’t want to be thinking. Familiar is just another sign of your absent mindedness. The more familiar places you go to in a day, the more absent minded you might have become, and are in the process of becoming.
So, today, go somewhere new. Try something new. Go somewhere familiar and notice something new there. Notice the new mole on your partner’s face. Notice the new wrinkles they’ve grown since you last saw them as new. Notice the newness of the leaves on the tree outside your house. Have they renewed since the cold winter front passed. Go to the bread aisle and pick a different bread that you’ve never tried. Find a vegetable or fruit you’ve never eaten and even better, dare cooking it in a cuisine you’ve never tried before.
Today, do something you’ve never done before. See something you’ve never seen before. And then, try doing it every day. At least one new thing, every day.