Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Monday, January 20, 2014

Novelty & Everyday Life

When we moved around every few years, I looked forward to the adventure.  The ordinary things of life were different, and therefore, an adventure: church, library, picnic spots, museums.  Hidden gems were to be discovered off the beaten path: a farmhouse, an old tree, a peaceful park.  I’m not sure why such adventures appeal to an introverted homebody, but they do.

As much as I would enjoy where I was at any moment, I would start to get “itchy feet” and long to move on to the next location, to peer over that next vista.  I felt that “itchy feet” a few years ago, in our current location, even though we were not destined to move from here.

It was a bit of an awakening for me, to discover that the problem was not the location, it was me.  I had stopped trying to discover new things in my surroundings, so I ceased to see the beauty that already existed.  I had fallen into a trap that told me that novelty is what makes a person, place, or thing interesting.  But I was wrong.  Certainly, the people in my life are not any less interesting because they aren’t new to me.  Any lover of books will tell you that they learn something new when re-reading a book.  GK Chesterton has written some brilliant things about the folly of falling for novelty.  Google “The Narrowness of Novelty,” as there’s too much to capture here.  Bottom line: you are a shallow person, if you see a thing’s worth only as it is novel to you.  My children loathe it when I tell them “only the boring are bored,” but it is good advice.  That old adage applied to me! 

That same eagerness to enjoy life that I applied to living in a new place . . . should be my way of life.  Generally speaking, I think that is the kind of person I am, but I can get into a rut of non-action (see that bit about introverted homebody.) 

Not novel, but delightful recent excursions: a surprise visit to the pool (carefully cropped photo, so as to avoid intruding upon the privacy of other pool patrons), a visit to the art museum, an impromptu walk in the park on a warm-ish day.

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