“The only sin she’s committed is being familiar.”
The first time I heard this line was when my husband and I watched the TV show “Mad Men.”
Joan and Don, coworkers and friends, sit at a bar in Midtown Manhattan and talk about a gentleman giving Joan the eye, and they wondered who was waiting for him at home.
“I’ll bet she is not ugly,” Joan says. “The only sin she’s committed is being familiar.”
The more I think of it, the more I see how this attitude bleeds over to all parts of our lives. How the need for “the next” can make us take for granted the blessings and miracles that happen to us every day.
Consider the following:
>> The toy your kid just had to have to be happy, only to have it end up under the bed, forgotten in lieu of the next best toy out there.
>> The new shoes your teenager bought to show off, only to become their lawn mowing shoes a year later.
>> The new car you could not afford that eventually ends up in the junkyard.
>> The job we were so happy to get becomes one we complain about daily.
>> The local college is not near as good as the one two towns over or just across the state line.
>> The spouse we get bored with, only to become enamored with the exciting person from work who is so much better than who we have to come home to.
We read and listen to God’s word and message but it loses its power because the words have been taken for granted.
Familiarity is a serious roadblock to happiness. It can turn something that was once exciting into something that is boring and unappreciated. It can cause us to think we could have something different, something better. But is different actually better? Or just different and new until it is not different and new anymore?
The “problem” is that so much of our lives consist of boring, mundane, repetitive events. We get up, we get ready for work, we drive the same route to work, we come home, we cook dinner, do the dishes, do the laundry, watch TV, and fall asleep—just to do it all over again the next day.
So, my question is, if we feel stuck in this cycle, how do we become “unstuck?” How do we learn to appreciate and be content with the daily routine, the familiar? I sure hope we can, ’cause that’s what life is.
“The grass is not greener on the other side; it is greener where you water it,” or so the saying goes.
How can we water the grass of our own lives so we never need to look for “the next” or something different? Different does not equal better. How can we avoid getting bored with our lives? Our lives will never be boring if we learn to look at them from a different perspective. With fresh eyes.
It takes intention:
Can we learn to see beauty in ordinary things? How many tiny but beautiful miracles does God present to us each day that we miss because we are not paying attention? Because our head is buried in our phone?
We have to make the choice to view everything as beautiful and exciting. I am excited for this wonderful day in front of me; I am surrounded by beautiful souls; I eat delicious food; I love my job and am thankful for it; I pass friendly strangers on the street and have the privilege of wishing them a beautiful day.
“You have to be the kind of person who can make the best out of a Tuesday. You know those people who live for vacations or weekends? They’re wishing their life away. You have to find something worth living for or else you will look back and realize you have wasted your life away.” ~ Drew Marvin
It takes gratitude:
What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness, it’s right in front of me if I am paying attention and practicing gratitude.” ~ Brené Brown
Each morning we are blessed with an opportunity to start fresh. What is your attitude as you begin each day?
What if we woke up each day and spoke life into the day…like literally said out loud what we are blessed with and what we are grateful for? Could we be so bold? I know it is easy for me to wake up and grumble and complain. Our words and thoughts have power. Let’s use this power for good!
It takes feeding the good stuff and starving the bad stuff:
What we feed gets stronger and what we starve gets weaker. Starve the immature and the false belief that you can only be happy “when.” Start feeding the belief that being content comes from the inside, not from your circumstances and material things from the outside world.
“There is nothing on this earth that can ever really keep our flesh completely satisfied. Because in the flesh, not in the spirit, but in the flesh, there is always that little nagging cry for more.” ~ Joyce Meyer
It takes a child-like attitude:
If we see the world through the eyes of a child, we can make the mundane events of life into an adventure. Children are wide-eyed about everything. They have the ability to be raw and innocent and pure. When we watch children, we notice the joy, the freedom, the laughter, the authenticity, and the vulnerability they experience. How do we bring this attitude back? Can we see the tiny miracles in the familiar experiences of which we have grown tired?
“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~ Unknown
“You gotta start romanticizing your life. You gotta start believing that your morning commute is cute and fun, that every cup of coffee is the best you’ve ever had, that even the smallest and most mundane things are exciting and new. You have to, because that’s when you start truly living. That’s when you look forward to every day.”~ Unknown
Here’s to fresh coffee, sunshine, evening walks, blooming flowers, sunsets, good books, human connections, and all the other simple but glorious pleasures of life.
Here’s to life.
A simple, familiar, beautiful life.