Finding Novelty in the Normal



Like everybody else, I pet my dogs, spend time with friends and family, run errands – all the mundane but magical moments that make up the rich fabric of my life.

I love to mix things up and try new things (like travel and new sports), but life sometimes demands consistency in order to get things done. I’m not complaining, of course. My day-to-day is pretty great, and I’ve worked hard to make it that way. But habits do become ingrained, and “the way we’ve always done it” sometimes becomes the default. 

That is, until it isn’t anymore. 

I’m going through some professional changes right now. They’re all good, but they’re still changes. My work life has been mostly unchanged for the last 30 years, so the prospect of doing things differently is exciting.

I’m using this as an opportunity to pause, reflect, and ponder how I want the next 25 years to go. Because change is good. Almost without exception, whenever I’ve taken a leap of faith into something new, the results have been overwhelmingly positive. And those that were less than spectacular turned out to be good learning experiences anyway.

So, my work life will offer some novelty in the coming months/years, which is great. And it reminds me of the importance of breaking up my personal routine as well.

I recently watched a TED Talk by Tanya Menon, who (as all good TED Talkers do) managed to put into words something I couldn’t. Her talk, “The secret to great opportunities is the person you haven’t met yet,” is an inspiration to anybody looking to shake things up a bit. 

Our routines are efficient and predictable, which definitely has a place in our lives. But much of the richness in life comes when we break out of our routine and seek newness. Surprising conversations, new friends, shocking coincidences, professional connections, new loves – all of these things can happen when we veer from the well-worn paths of our lives.

Some ideas to get your juices flowing:

·      Play paintball

·      Volunteer to pick up trash at your local lake or park

·      Sit at a community table at a restaurant

·      Try a new exercise routine (like Surfset, aerial silks or aqua yoga)

·      Go to a comic book convention

·      Take a trip by yourself to a new place and commit to making a new friend in every city

·      Go to an EDM festival

·      Join a sailing or polo club

Welcoming change into one area of your life can enrich every other area by injecting a fresh perspective and livening up what might have become a carefully-curated routine – making something good even better. 

If you want even more inspiration, check out another TED Talk, Maria Bezaitis’ “The surprising need for strangeness.”

I’m excited about the changes coming my way and I know that, however anxious I might be about them, they offer far more upsides than down.

If you’ve got any strangeness coming your way – or you have some advice for people looking to add novelty to their lives – add them to the comments section.