Start something new
Sounds like a good way to thwart our hedonic adaptation¹! We all too easily become used to almost anything, even the good stuff. It takes some effort to keep on savoring them. Starting something new is an easy way out of this dilemma. By definition, we aren’t used to new things! It’s an opportunity to wake us up and get our neurons excited. And, with luck, it’ll be challenging enough to make us appreciate again part of our daily routine, if only because it’ll look comfortable and safe in comparison.
Maybe starting something new is about doing «what you love to do, differently»? Not something new per se, but a new approach, a new state of mind. Taking a step back, or a deep breath, we can look at things from a different perspective. This fresh light casts a new shadow from which a novel understanding, a renewed appreciation can emerge.
Starting something new can be the first step on the hero’s journey. This path, too seldomly traveled, brings us to our dark places, to our unconscious and back. There we can get in touch with our nature and learn something about ourselves and the world through the collective unconscious. There we can regress to our reptilian self, shed our old skin, and come back anew. As Carl Jung said:
«Entering the unconscious, entering yourself through dreams, is touching nature from the inside and […] things are put right again.»
Truth be told, starting something new could as well be the first step on the fugitive’s journey. It might just be a delusional way to escape from the old and the past. At first, we’ll be blinded by the glow of novelty and we’ll even think that we reached escape velocity. But after a while, we’ll just fall back into our old habits. As André Maurois wrote: «A man cannot free himself from the past more easily than he can from his own body».
Only by facing the old can we build the new.
(1) Shout out to Laurie Santos — https://www.coursera.org/lecture/the-science-of-well-being/part-2-thwart-hedonic-adaptation-EVVHW