My dad always encouraged me to try something new, including finding new routes home. “Change for the sake of change is good,” he inspired. He was a firm believer that aging began when we, as individuals, became comfortable- comfortable in our routines, our jobs, our relationships, and our lives. Change, through new experiences and new adventures, makes us feel alive was his regular message and one he lived with passion.
At various times in my life, I have allowed myself to become too comfortable. I’ve “phoned it in” at certain jobs, while homeschooling, in my marriage, and in my daily routine. Then, I wonder why I feel itchy under my skin. It rarely takes me long to figure out I’ve fallen into the same old dull routine but figuring out what to do differently can feel daunting.
“Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.” ~Pauline R. Kezer
When my dad was still alive, he always opened our calls with, “Hey! What’s new and exciting?” I often felt silly and embarrassed during those chats. More often than not, I had no big trips I was planning nor new job I was starting; there was no new grand adventure of any kind. I had dirty diapers and lesson planning and my regular clients and a “stable” marriage. Nothing new. Nothing exciting. That (perceived–by me) lack often made those calls home tough and awkward. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t and didn’t realize until after his death that he wasn’t asking about trips or jobs or grand adventures. Sure, he loved sharing the big news, but he was asking about what was new in my day–how was I changing and growing. What was I doing different today than yesterday? Did I start reading a new book? Pick up a new craft with the girls? Plant a new seed? Share a date with my husband someplace new? Or, simply take a new route home from the store?
“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” ~Author Unknown
For some time, I’ve been thinking about “getting in shape”, not so I can wear the size I wore once, after months of starvation, but to feel better in my own skin and have more energy. In my youth, I loved running. At 50, my knees don’t. Of course, there is walking and while I love being in nature, I thought I had explored most of the “convenient” pretty paths near my home. Those paths had become boring and routine and left me with little desire to leave my comfortable chair.
Then, one recent Monday, after tuning up my bike for our older daughter to use, my husband invited me to ride alongside him while he took our Guide Dog puppy-in-training for a walk to his new favorite walking destination. It was the first time I had been on a bike in about 7 years. (That’s a subject for another post.) Suddenly, my day had something new and exciting in it, and that evening ride transformed my week. 5 times that week, I mounted up and rode. Most days I rode alone, but one morning I joined two girlfriends for a ride and we rewarded our efforts with a Starbucks and laughter. I rode north and south and east and west, and I discovered I am surrounded by nature and paths just waiting to be explored. All new. All exciting. A most welcomed change in my world.
“Change always comes bearing gifts.” ~Price Pritchett
Below are some of the sights I discovered along the way, but before I go, I ask you, “What’s new and exciting?” Please share! (I’m always looking for ideas. 🙂 )
“Each morning is the open door to a new world–new vistas, new aims, new tryings.”
~Leigh Mitchell Hodges