Last week I picked up a friend and we headed off to a party in Hollywood. We drove north on Ventura Boulevard, towards Laurel Canyon, which we were going to use to get over to the other side of town. As you may know, the Ventura / Laurel Canyon intersection is always jammed and if you miss the light, you’re stuck. As we approached Carpenter Street, my friend told me to turn onto it. I was confused – we needed Laurel. She yelled, “Turn!” and so I did.
I’m embarrassed to admit that although I’ve lived in this area for almost twenty years, I’d never turned down Carpenter. I was surprised to find that it’s a short cut onto Laurel. Yes, I can be a dope when it comes to directions!
After all these years, why hadn’t I driven down Carpenter before now? Habit. Just habit, laziness, and a woeful lack of curiosity.
The novelist, James Still, once gave an aspiring writer this advice: “Discover something new every day.” I think that’s inspiring advice no matter what you’re aspiring to be! However, to discover something new, you have to be curious. You have to have eyes that see. You have to live not out of habit.
My niece Mary graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder last May. My brother, his wife, my other niece Gracie, and I stayed at the Boulderado – the oldest hotel in Boulder. The lobby is chock-full of vintage “stuff” including a hundred-year-old guest register that is open each day to the corresponding date. The lobby is a veritable museum.
I was pointing out antique curiosities to my sister-in-law and each time she registered surprise, saying, “I didn’t notice that before.” Finally, exasperated, she acknowledged that although she had stayed at the hotel whenever she’d visit Mary during the last four years, she’d never noticed any of this stuff. She marveled that I spotted it all so quickly.
Beth works in finance. She’s purpose driven and that’s spilled over to life outside work. For Beth, a lobby is simply a place you go to check-in. That’s all that matters.
The great architect Mies Van Der Rohe was quoted as saying that “God is in the details.” Even if you’re an atheist, the truth is that details are what make life interesting.
The German writer Goethe was guided by the belief that, “Nothing is worth more than this day.” I’ve always liked that sentiment. But without “curious seeing” a day is just a habit. And so my newly embraced resolve is to discover something new each day – to drive a different route; read a blog I haven’t visited; ask “why?” more often.
Care to join me?
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