Notice something new everyday.
That’s our mantra on our walk to school everyday: notice something you didn’t before.
I force my kids (I’ve noticed I say that a lot, it’ll probably go on my record and later be “Used Against Me.” Oh well, they thank you later, right?) to notice something new on the walk to school everyday. It can be big or small, but it has to be something that we all haven’t seen before. Well, not that small, not a new leaf on the ground. But maybe even the color of an awning, a new Christmas decoration on a house, or maybe a statue that seems like it should be in the countryside in Italy.
What DO you notice everyday?
I think the quick answer is: Not much. You go through your habits, through your routines, walk your route, drive your car, put your keys on the table, notice the palm tree. But what’s new? Let’s see, my kids are now in 3rd and 5th grades. We’ve been walking to school since kindergarten. How many years is that? Enough to see the same things everyday.
The dogs bark from the second garage after our first corner. The “blaue fiets meisje” (blue bike girl) whooshes past us on Corbett St., and, our combined favorite, the man sits at his kitchen table working on his laptop in his kitchen with the huge windows while his cat slowly watches us go by. Everyday.
Groundhog day to be sure. So how do you break it up? How do you train your brain to not see the same thing everyday, to not notice anything but the same pattern? You have to force it. I hound them (OK, in a nice way … but I don’t give up) until they come up with something new. Sometimes it’s bland, a shutter, a garden hose, a colorful door, but other times we see things we wonder how we haven’t seen the 829 days we’ve previously walked the same street at the same time. Our brain can process to much, but our poor conscious mind can only handle a small percentage of that. Still, we need to keep it working, we need to keep it active and alive and “happy.”
What can you notice on your drive to school, work, or play today? What can you see that you didn’t see yesterday? It’s the same scene, the same exact “painting” but there is something new there, what it is? You know it’s there, but you have to do a little work, you have to make a little effort to see it, to notice it, to register it.
Why bother? Why make that extra effort? Because if today is the same as yesterday then today is the same as tomorrow and we might as well stop now.