Have you ever gone somewhere new? (I’m hoping you answer yes)
You know that feeling you get when everything is foreign. You don’t know where anything is. You have to ask for help finding basic things, bathroom, food, shelter. Maybe you don’t even speak the language. You have to find someone that you can communicate with. You have to search for a base camp to begin your investigation of this new place. Searching this new destination hoping to find a friendly face. Seeking for common threads. Looking for a way to understand and interpret your new surroundings.
It can be any situation. Moving to a new home or country. Taking a new job. Talking to someone you’ve never met before. Even when you go on vacation to relax, you can find yourself somewhere new in unknown surroundings. Sometimes it can be fun, and sometimes it can be really stressful. Often it’s a bit of both.
It is pretty typical on day one to have all these feelings. Survival mode can kick in if you don’t find a common anchor. Where am I? What am I doing? Where will my needs be met?
Then you get your groove on. You figure out where you fit in in this new place. You establish patterns. You build up a list of favorite spots. Maybe you find a hiking path that you start to take every morning. Maybe you find a favorite coffee shop that you go to every day. Maybe every Tuesday you go to the same place for lunch. You establish patterns. You figure out what works for you. You lock it in.
You are no longer a stranger. Now this is your new home. Maybe you’ll be staying for a couple weeks. Maybe you will be here for a few years. But you’ve found a way to make it work and you’re in your groove.
And now, you’ve lost your edge. When you first go to a new place, everything is new. You notice everything. Everything is significant. Once you’ve been there for a while, you have established your patterns. You have decided what is important and decided what to ignore. The fresh is gone, and with it the awareness. Your acute sense of what is around you dulls down as it goes from new to familiar.
Our life here on earth is exactly like this. It’s astonishing for the first few years. Everything is amazing. Everything is so vivid. Everything is alive and vital.
We learn as we age. We figure out what to pay attention to and what to ignore. We establish patterns. But there is a lot that we’ve just learned to block out. Some good. Some bad. But we’ve lost our edge. We’ve shut down to the awareness of where we are and what we’re doing here. We may have even forgotten why we travelled here in the first place.
Never forget. You are a stranger in a strange land.