I love “new,” don’t you? The smell of a new car or fresh paint. A new outfit. A new gadget. New is fresh. Clean. Full of potential. Not outdated or damaged. Like a new year’s resolution, you try your best to keep it that way. No feet on the carpet. No food in the car. But after awhile, “new” fades. It wears off like a manicure. It wasn’t intentional; life just happens. And over time the daily wear and tear starts to show. The new car now smells like french fries. The paint has battle wounds full of war stories from kids, furniture, and pets. The gadget becomes outdated and soon you find yourself back to chasing “new” again.
And, new can be scary. Especially scary when you are trying something new. Like being the chubby girl in the spin class. Or turning a hobby into a profession. Or making a better lifestyle choice that has a long history of failed attempts. Routine is predictable and predictable is safe and safe is easier and easier is comfortable. “Can’t fail if we don’t try,” we reason. And I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to give up if I fail. That’s why I do better with allowing cheats versus perfection. I just have to make sure I don’t cheat more than I’m honest.
And for a few of us, “new” marks one step closer to a hard reality of what is to come.
So when it came to New Year’s Day, I wanted to make changes. Lists of changes. Color coded on a spreadsheet, of course. Work out, eat better, be nicer, and the like. Good goals. And I am going to work on those, but something bigger kept rising to the surface. Because after all, new fades and it’s scary. Which is why I always end up in December with the worst version of myself, counting down the days to starting over, failing, and giving up.
Maybe this new year, “new” isn’t something I need to chase or be paralyzed by. The definition of new is “something already existing but seen, experienced, or acquired recently or now for the first time.” You guys, something already existing but seen now for the first time! That’s it! All day I have been searching for a way to describe what I want for 2016 and that is exactly it. I want to see, experience and acquire things that already exist, like God, and the people around me, and existing talents to develop, and interests worth exploring. I want to become a professional noticer, a student of the stories in my every day that already contain beautiful discoveries I have overlooked or rushed by in year’s past.
I don’t want more, I want to wake up. Wake up everyday grateful. Fully awake and present instead of busy and numb. Nothing stays new but change.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.