Same Old, Same Old
Oscar Wilde said “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” Do you think that is true?
I used to think I was an exciting and adventurous person. As a child I could see myself traipsing off to Paris, Rome and the tropics (I evidently also saw an unending bank account!) and trying new and daring things like scuba diving, mountain climbing and cliff jumping (scuba diving is still a goal of mine). I also thought I would be living in New York, DC or possibly abroad….
While I think there is value in new experiences, I have learned as an adult that I am the near-opposite of the vision for myself I had as a child. I hate surprises, am completely unspontaneous and will always take the sure thing over an unknown. Perhaps this is a safe way to live life but if it is what gives you happiness can that be bad?
Rather than being safe I look at it as knowing what I like and being confident in those choices. For example, I have read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell at least 3 times a year for the last 4 years and I probably will continue reading it over again for the rest of my life. I love the experience of reading that book and have yet to find a replacement that is as satisfactory. (I was just talking to a girl who said she has never reread a book in her life. I wouldn’t read much if that was my philosophy!)
For me repetition does not diminish a good experience. The things I like I could do again and again. I honestly think I could eat a jamba juice every day of my life and never tire of it, or spaghetti, or subs. I love Hawaii and really feel no desire to vacation anywhere else. I think about going somewhere new and while that sounds exciting my heart keeps tugging me back to Hawaii. Its what I know I will love and just like Gaskell or jamba juice there is some comfort in a sure thing.
I have always loved to swim and whether it be boating, open water, ocean or pool, I love being in the water. I could swim every day for the rest of my life and never tire of it. Sometimes I wonder if I should take up other sports just to keep challenging myself but there isn’t anything else I feel a desire to do. All I want to do is swim! (In fact, every other athletic activity is somewhat repellent to me including things everyone loves like hiking or dancing).
With movies and television you can see this personality trait. I’ve seen Bringing up Baby, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and You’ve Got Mail untold numbers of times and I still love all 3 and could watch them again right now without any reduction in viewing enjoyment. The other day I watched the new season of the Simpsons and it is still making me laugh after 22 years. Same basic gags but if they work, they work.
Other examples are in music. I’ve had a playlist I made a year or so ago that is my go-to. It has all of my favorite songs and I put it on recycle and listen to it again and again. The other day I was driving with my sister and she said “Can we listen to something other than the playlist that you have on all the time”. Sometimes I forget that not everyone enjoys repetition the way I do!
In the first area of my mission there was a sandwich shop we would frequent and every time we went I got a reuben sandwich. Finally my companion in frustration said “try something different why don’t you!”. So I did and you know what- it wasn’t as good as the reuben and I left the store wishing I had gotten the sure thing.
What do you think of this trait? Some might say “I’m in a rut” but I see it as being self-aware and cognizant of what makes me happy. Besides, isn’t there a point in life where you stop trying to figure out what you love and just love the things you have? But on the other side I sometimes worry that I don’t push myself and end up as a boring person, which is not what I want.
A few years ago my friend Camille did a post of things we may not know about her and despite knowing her for years and living with her for 2 as a roommate, there were several things on the list that I didn’t know. I tried to come up with such a list and it was an epic failure. I couldn’t think of anything about myself that my friends didn’t know. Not one thing! I am the lamest person to play truth or dare with because I really have nothing interesting to tell! Being so predictable and open seems like a bad thing?
My friend Raelene has this bucket list of all these things she wants to do in life- the places she wants to go, experiences to have, possessions/homes she’d like to gain. I have never been this type of dreamer. I am content with what I’ve got and honestly feel no desire to have much more. If it happens that’s great but I could live in my apartment, by myself, with an occasional trip to Hawaii and be perfectly content for the rest of my life.
Most girls I know hate being single and daydream of a different life. I really don’t. I like my life. Its a sure thing and in some ways getting married would be super scary (although if the experience happens that would be great but adapting to a whole new life would be hard). If it happens that’s great but if it doesn’t I’m fine too.
Thoughts? Do you think consistency is good or bad thing? Should I feel compelled to ‘break out of my shell’ or am I fine just the way I am? What do you think about your life and being ‘in a rut’?