Navigating New

I hate new. Well, today I do, anyway. With 12 addresses in the past 23 years, let’s just say I’ve had my fair share of new. New houses to organize, new friends to make, new streets to memorize, and new routines to learn.

We moved into our newest house in June and I have a drawer in my closet full of curtains that don’t fit a single window. There are no upper cabinets near the dishwasher in my new kitchen so the organization of plates, glasses, and mugs still makes no sense to me. And, even as I’m typing these words, my counter is littered with jars that I ordered from Target because the containers I ordered from Amazon were less than helpful in my attempt to organize our new pantry.

The problem with new is that it’s so….new! It’s uncertain, unpredictable, and uncomfortable. It makes everything and everyone around it feel like it just bought a one-way ticket to ride the crazy train. You can’t plan for new. You can’t organize it. You can’t be comfortable in it because you don’t know it well enough to be the boss of it.

Old is familiar. You can drape it over your shoulders and snuggle up in it because it’s cozy and warm. You know what to expect from old. You know how to plan for it and organize it because you already know how to boss it around. It’s more manageable…easier to control…or at least to give you the illusion of control. Old just feels safer.

So what are we supposed to do we do when new feels frustrating, scary, and overwhelming? How do we find our way when we have to use Waze just to get to the grocery store and back? How do we navigate new when it leaves us feeling exhausted, sad, lonely, or even worse, hopeless?

We choose.

Successfully navigating new depends on the choices we make. Sure, choices can be overwhelming when we look at all the different options. But if we can step back and breathe deeply….take just a moment to pause and gather our thoughts, we can almost always pinpoint one choice that could anchor us deeply enough that we won’t get swept away with every wave of choices that follows.

New takes time. It takes some getting used to. And rather than miserably sitting in the corner, giving time the side-eye and wishing it would pass, we can choose to open up the door and invite time in for a cup of tea. We can sit with it, learn from it, and grow from it. We can listen to time when he reminds us that eventually new things will become old and old things will become older. And maybe we don’t necessarily fall in love with time, but we can at least learn to like him enough to make him our friend.

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Once we have friend-zoned time, we can pull another chair up to the table and invite perspective to take a seat. Perspective usually ends up being an excellent conversationalist so long as we are willing to engage. She says encouraging things like, “You won’t always have to use Waze to find the grocery store!” and “Isn’t it great that Amazon offers free returns?!” But if you listen very closely she’ll whisper things that are much more profound and you might even find yourself finishing some of her her sentences:

“This won’t last forever.”

“You know you’re not the only one.”

“You are better/braver/stronger because you_________.”

“That didn’t work out the way you thought it would, but at least you learned________.”

If you’re being tossed around on the waves of new right now, choose gratitude. The anchor of gratitude will always hold.

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