In the stories we read and write, our hero is forced into the unfamiliar. They are stretched and challenged and pushed to the limit of their capacity, sometimes beyond their breaking point. We ravenously devour these tales from the safety of our lounge-rooms, from the bus-route we always take, sipping the hot beverage we always order at the cafe we favour. We barely need to lift our gaze from page or screen because we know exactly what surrounds us at all times.
Like most people, I am very good at sticking to the same routines. I take the same bus and train route. I hang out with the same people. We visit the same places. We dabble in the same hobbies and experiences. Life is clockwork and comfortable.
Imagine what out stories would be like if the hero remained in place? If they never experienced new sights or sounds or experiences. It simply wouldn’t work.
Does it work for us?
I am not a traveler. Travelling is a huge investment of time and money and energy. I prefer my adventures in small doses: day trips to landmarks or markets or random adventures to areas I haven’t been to before. I enjoy exploring a new place, but I want to be home in time for dinner.
Most of my living is experienced through books and TV, sliced and diced by another writer or producer’s perceptions. It’s vital for me to occasionally step outside my routine, into that instantly intensely bright land of the unfamiliar. The moment I do so, my attention sharpens. The splash of excitement and uncertainty jolts me wide awake. In that moment, I am truly paying attention.
Our worlds become very small. We hang out with people that align to our values and way of being in the world, who don’t challenge or shock us. We do things that are comfortable. We expose ourselves to materials that align with our belief system and flick past things that don’t interest us or we don’t agree with. For so much of our day our minds are on autopilot.
We are teetering on the tippy slippy brink of 2020. A vast and untracked landscape stretches at our toes. Will 2020 be a clone of 2019? Will we walk the same paths, skirt around the same demons, duck the same challenges and walk beneath the same skies?
How often do you step out of the comfortable and familiar? What would it take for you to live more intensely?
(Posted 26 Dec 2019. Follow me at: https://nicolewalshauthor.com/)