We’ve all had times when we get something “new” in life. Maybe it’s a new car or house. Maybe it’s a new job or hobby. Maybe it’s a new relationship. Whatever it is, there’s nothing like the newness that comes with certain types of changes. Even the support we receive from those around us has a different feel when it is new. But time has a way of making us all complacent. We get used to the things we have or the people in our lives and then find ourselves missing that “new smell” of the things with which we have been blessed. Yep…the truth is the new always wears off. The question is, “What do we do when it happens?”
New things or people energize us. New circumstances excite us. New challenges inspire (or test) us. No matter what the effect, the result is that things are NOT boring. There is a higher level of activity, even if it is only internally. I think of things I have done over the course of my life and each one brought great amounts of pleasure and intensity in the beginning. I have been excited as I jumped into creative projects or endeavors at work. It’s interesting how people are drawn to newness. The excitement (or stress) of things in my life has drawn others to jump in with me at times. There is something about being in the same boat with someone who is inspired and filled with passion. But after a while, the same things that once excited or interested others begins to fade, and they seem to wander on to the next exciting thing. When that happens, I must remember that the newness of me or my world has simply faded for them. It doesn’t mean they don’t care; it just means they’ve grown accustomed to it all. I cannot allow the actions of others to dictate my passions. I cannot and will not allow the complacency of others to determine whether or not I will continue to unleash my creativity or give 100% to the areas in which I have responsibilities. But what about when the newness wears off not just for them, but for ME?
Life is an exciting adventure overall, but that doesn’t mean every single moment will be filled with exciting circumstances. Living richly from day-to-day requires something deeper than that “new car smell!” For example, if you sold your car every time the new smell dissipated, you’d be changing cars every couple of months (if not sooner). It just isn’t feasible to do that for most people. If you quit your job every time you had a bad day, you’d eventually run out of new places to work. Even our relationships have ebbs and flows and sometimes we start longing for the excitement of a new connection. There is something beautiful about new things. Newness reminds us of life and how amazing it can be. New things are clean and shiny. They smell good. They feel good. New relationships awaken all our senses and we feel alive! It is natural and great to experience these sensations, but when our life begins to revolve around them, we have lost sight of what it means to live with a richness that is elusive to so many.
We have to learn to look deeper and find meaning in the beauty that comes with being steadfast. We need to adjust our vision so that we stop taking what we have for granted, including the people in our lives. And we need to adjust our perspective so that we don’t take it personally when others do the same to us. I’m not saying it isn’t difficult when you feel like you are pouring yourself into the world around you, yet it seems everyone just gets used to it and finds nothing special in it anymore. It IS difficult…but it isn’t unusual. You aren’t alone in feeling that way. We ALL have to live with what is left when the new wears off.
When it’s all said and done, it is important to realize that time and troubles have a way of wearing off the new over and over, but WE have control over how we react to it. Instead of striving for perfection, learn to appreciate the character of imperfection. People pay large sums of money for antiques that are far from perfect. They are weathered (and sometimes even smelly) but it is their endurance through time that makes them beautiful. They aren’t desired because they are the newest, fanciest, most advanced items. They are sought after because they have stood the test of time. They have increased in value because of their longevity and resulting character. Each scar on the antique actually is the mark of a story, a reminder that life is to be lived and not preserved.
So let us live each day from a place of character. Let us stand strong in the face of complacency – whether it is ours or it belongs to those around us. Let us not bow our heads when we are seemingly forgotten, unappreciated or taken for granted. Let us live with such passion that our value to this world lies in what we do AFTER the new wears off.