What happens when the newness wears off of a project? A relationship? A commitment? What happens when the newness wears off of a diet, a New Year's resolution, a new year? What happens when the newness wears off of sobriety?
Does this happen to the general population? Are those of us in recovery the Special Adventure Seekers: Slayers of the Mundane? When I look back on my drinking years as a collective, it does look like Groundhog Day as there were no significant changes in my life, no upwardly mobile strides towards potential. But in the minute, day to day, I never really knew how my day would unfold after my first drink. No matter how unexciting it would be in reality, even if I didn't leave my house, it was unpredictable. It was reckless. And it kept me drinking. Do we just especially abhor repetition?
The thrills I sought changed over the years: men, career aspirations, spontaneous dance parties, but they were all in an attempt to change how I felt. Fueled by alcohol, I wanted instant gratification. Be Here Now was never in my wheelhouse but Change This Now was my jam. So what can I do when zipping off my own skin everyday is not an option?
I suppose the most effective solutions would be to hop on a cross-country train with nothing but books and a journal or max out a credit card or have an affair or...drink. None of which are valid options. Next. I'm not going to say meditate and do yoga because (a) duh and (b) going deeper is not what I want when I feel this way and perhaps I'm not a good enough meditator or yogini to transcend this mortal coil, but I'm not. Long term goal noted.
So this is a non-exhaustive list, all of which I've done, never all on the same day although that is not beyond comprehension:
- Write myself right. Right about it, just like I'm doing. Hit publish. Make a connection. New connections are just the dopamine hit I need.
- Drive myself to nature, since it isn't in my backyard, and go for a long-ass hike. Bonus if there are hills/mountains/water involved.
- Start another fucking creative project. I need this like I need another oozing orifice in my skull but it really, really does the trick.
- Watch a movie or read a novel. And by that I mean, NOT a documentary or a non-fiction book, suggesting I do life a different way. When I am at this place, I don't really want to be told what to do but I do want to dream about something different. Attraction rather than promotion.
- Put on make-up and jewelry, fix my hair and go somewhere. Even if it's the bookstore, even if it's the library, even if it's a meeting or a cafe, go somewhere, bring my journal, spy on people, eavesdrop on conversations, make assumptions about other people's lives, observe, take notes.
- If all else fails or even if they don't fail, pray. Pray a new prayer, one you haven't used before or pray that same one, but louder, in a more distinct tone so that there is no mincing of words, "You take this, please."
I do know this, always seeking something new is exhausting, and ultimately unfulfulling. I've conducted 46 years worth of experiments and they've all eventually led me to the same conclusion. Sitting with something for a long time is where the real growth comes from. This is a brand new lesson for me and I'm still learning. And with everything we want to change, no matter how we try and circumvent this part, we have to do things differently than we did before. Change is the antithesis to stagnation and it will materialize if we do the work, more slowly than quickly, I've found. This life is new, these lessons are new and herein lies the thrill.