Last night, Kathy and I were at Merriweather Post Pavilion for the Ray LaMontagne concert. It was a lovely night – cool, cloudy but without rain, and the moon was a half-slice that hung just to the left of the stage. Intermittently, plans from BWI went overhead, skirting in and out of the cloud cover like they were playing games with us. Beautiful evening.
As I watched the planes fly overhead, I realized I wasn’t even nervous about their presence over me. I didn’t doubt they would stay in the sky. I am used to planes. Then, I remembered what it felt like for the first plane to fly over me after 9/11. I was physically scared. I wasn’t used to that sight anymore.
We do seem to adjust to things quickly. We get a new car, start a new relationship, visit a new place, and a few days later, we’re already “used” to these new things. Perhaps this is why we are so quick to find something new. Maybe this is why we buy so much stuff and move on from relationships when they get hard – we like the new, the fresh. I know this is true for me. Occasionally, I really want to start over and try again with life. New means “do over” in my mind.
But when we allow ourselves to adjust to things so quickly, when we fail to see the beauty in “old” things, when we discard what we have to try to find some thing better, I think we only end up missing out on some deep glory. We lose depth in favor of newness. We never get to understand the nuances and quirky glory of what we already know – the way a friend smiles when she’s tired, the special sputter of a car with 90,000 miles, the smell of a musty book.
Instead of getting used to things and either taking them for granted or discarding them, I’m going to try to appreciate the newness of each thing in the moment. I’m going to stare at the plane overhead and marvel that it stays up there. I’m going to look at the half-moon and relish the “Seas” on it’s surface. I’m going to take these relationships that aren’t fresh anymore and dive deep into them. Life is too short for me to keep tossing aside things that are not perfect. I want to be surrounded by people I love and who love me for all that we are. I want to keep a few treasured things near me to remind me of the beauty of history. I want to hear Ray LaMontagne sing “Trouble” and breath in the music like it’s the first time. I don’t want to “get used” to anything.