Being a thinky sort of person I sometimes feel like I should be doing more. More Exciting Things. More BIG Things. I “should” be experiencing life to the fullest! But what does that mean?
Boring is a really subjective word isn’t it? Occasionally we are accused of such horror, but usually by a teenager or other grumpy family member. Sometimes we accuse ourselves of it too! It’s all a matter of individual perspective. What is one person’s boring is another’s Way Too Much.
So, you’re not a concert fan, you can’t afford to go to the big shows every month, or go to Italy every other year. You don’t crave adventure, extreme sports or clubbing into the night.
But other things bring you joy, familiar things, like walking, playing with your dog, reading, playing board games with your family, cricket on the beach every summer, going to your favourite cafe.
We like the familiar but we also like new things and new experiences. New is fun, but the familiar is comforting.
There is pleasure in taking a regular stroll through your neighbourhood, admiring the same flowers, smiling at the people you recognise. Familiarity gives us an anchor in our busy, often frenetic lives. Have you ever felt the happiness of affection or nostalgia when returning to a favourite place or person after a long time away? That.
Novelty is often sought by buying new things instead of doing new things because it’s so easy. Saving up to go somewhere new next year seems so far into the future that it’s not very exciting. So we buy a new top instead.
But we often go back again and again to our favourite things, like children do with favorite toys. How many mugs to you own? I bet you have a favourite one that you always look for when you need a cuppa.
I bet you have a favourite holiday spot, beach, mountain or bush walk. Do you recall the captivating novelty of changes that happen to your favourite places? Do you suddenly become aware of an aspect of your favorite place that you never noticed before? Maybe you bought along a new person and are seeing it through their eyes for the first time.
Sometimes it takes new eyes to see our old things and truly appreciate them. If you’re trying to reign in your spending, trying to live a more sustainable life or you’re having a go at living more simply you may have discovered this happens automatically.
When we declutter what we are really doing is working out what our favourite things are.
It’s all too easy to look at All The Things we own and think, but it’s pretty/might come in handy/cost a flipping fortune! But when you really think about it, how often do you look at that pretty thing in that cupboard? When did you last need that thing that might come in handy? Or use that thing that cost an arm and a leg?
Why not change your perspective?
How about looking at the few things we truly need and love with new appreciation? The things you actually do use, the things you reach for without thought, or hunt for when you need them. Imagine if you didn’t have them. Imagine that thing was stolen or broken or you were too poor to be able to buy it.
It really is the little things.
If we start appreciating the things we own, the practical things as well as the beautiful things do you think we’d be a little bit happier? A little bit more content? Sometimes I think people confuse contentment with living a boring life.
Valuing the essentials of our life makes us feel more content. Placing higher value on the little things, like a call or message from a friend, your first cuppa in the morning, your cat smooching you affectionately, gives us a sense the all is right with our world. If we truly savour those familiar experiences and pleasurable routines our life will become so full of good things, that the word boring would never even occur to us.
Imagine if they were gone. For a moment, think about NOT having that place to go to, the capacity to sing or dance, what if that person was not around? How lucky we are to have them!
Balance is key.
A happy life has comforting routine AND variety. The anticipation of joy, fun and excitment is almost, almost?… Maybe it IS as important as doing the thing itself. Those exciting things are YOUR exciting things. No-one else’s, your idea of fun, your choice of variety.
Everyone is different, everyone has varying levels of capacity for managing stimulation and variety. But living a life of dissatisfaction or resentment or stagnating or paralyzed by fear of new experiences and people is a life that might need the balm of gentle appreciation to bring change (or it might need a complete makeover!).
If you have trouble finding that new perspective on your belongings and your life… Well, those new eyes that you may have had the delight to see through once? Try that more. Pretend if you have to, get the real thing when you can.
Life is not boring when we feel good about the little things AND the big things. Especially the little things, because they happen ALL THE TIME.