I’ve started having firsts again and it feels great!

When we get started with this thing called Life, we embark on a journey of learning. We take our first steps, have our first day at school, take our first plane ride, go on our first date, etc.

As the years go by and we check off more firsts, we discover the things we like doing and we keep doing those things we like. And we let the flow of firsts slow to a trickle. We develop favorites: favorite menu item from favorite restaurant, favorite shirt, favorite TV shows, favorite songs, and favorite deodorant. Favorite = familiar. Familiar = comfortable. We want to predict the results.

When we learn the favorites of our significant others, we try and score points by serving up a steady diet of THEIR favorites. As the relationships continue, we sometimes get stuck in a favorites rut. Back in the day, I would buy my ex the same present (her favorite perfume) twice a year, every year, to avoid being responsible for serving up dissatisfaction.

For me, sometimes, having favorites is less about doing what I like and more about lowering my risk of disliking. For example, I tend to order the same-ole-same-ole menu items because I don’t want to take a chance on ordering something I won’t like and then feel like I wasted money. I often sacrifice discovery and instead put the emphasis on satisfaction. Being comfortable becomes so important that new is squeezed out of the picture.

A few years ago I ran with a sweetheart Cancer who would get on my last nerve by taking her time ordering something new from the menu whenever we visited our favorite drive thru. Looking back, I now appreciate her openness to experimentation!

Now, as my pages turn to a new chapter, discovery is being forced upon me! My list of firsts is being re-set. New job, new city means almost every thing is new to me — and that newness is very invigorating! Sometimes, I have to fight through the hesitation that uncertainty brings, but when I do, the result is a new type of satisfaction. I have to remember to accept that some results might be something less than ideal, but celebrate checking off another first.

The question is: Why did discovery have to be forced upon me?

My promise to me is: Keep discovering! Enjoy the satisfaction that comes with having favorites, but also enjoy mixing in something new every day, throughout the day! Take a different sidewalk, drive a different road, try a different eatery, and learn a new word from a foreign language. Set sail on some kind of new adventure every weekend. Anything to wake up my heart and mind from the doldrums of sameness, and give my brain tissue a reason to create a few more wrinkles.

To be continued…