When did it become stale?
Sometimes in life someone can throw a question at you that really makes you stop and think. Many years ago I was in a relationship that was neither great nor terrible, I could have quite easily stayed in this relationship for a long time or moved on and taken my life in a different direction. The relationship started in a passionate way where every moment I spent with this person felt like I was on cloud nine but as time went on the relationship started to become a habit and cracks started to show in our interaction with each other. At that time a good friend of mine asked me a tough question; ‘If you weren’t in a relationship with this person but you knew what the relationship would become based on what you know now, would you still want to start a relationship with this person?’.
This was a very challenging question for me at that time but there was a lot of value in the line of thinking it lead me towards. It made me reflect on many things; what I ultimately wanted from a relationship, who I was as a person in this particular relationship, why it was becoming a habit that wasn’t making either of our lives better, was my partner the right choice for me, and was it possible to turn the relationship towards a path that was better for both of us. Ultimately this question lead to my partner and I deciding to go our separate ways.
While I was going through the reflection period after we broke up I was conflicted by the question ‘what do I ultimately want from a relationship?’. Although I felt that this particular relationship did have what I ultimately wanted during the early stages, as time went on it slowly drifted away. This ‘drifting away’ is not unique to relationships - it can happen in many areas of our lives. We move towards a new area and at first we are fulfilled by everything that it has to offer but as time goes on everything that was good about that area disappears and we are only there because it’s a habit we know well. There’s security in it, but that’s about all there is.
This exciting area might be a new exercise routine that you discover which completely spins your wheels, you love everything about it and because you love it you commit 100% of yourself to that activity. During the first period with your new found love you are excited, stretched in healthy ways, curious and it seems like every corner you turn has so much to offer because you are going through so many new experiences. But after a while, when you have become more experienced in this area many of the things you loved about it when you first started no longer drive you. It’s not that you don’t get value from doing this activity but you are now familiar with how it works and now you have to dig a little deeper to find what you love from this activity. This is a dangerous time, if you stay aware you can look for ways to maintain the passion that this activity can provide but if you don’t you can allow it to just become a habit. This is the place where the only reason you are there is because it’s what you know.
When we know we are in this place with an area that no longer gives us what we need we have two options; we can search a little harder in that area to find ways that turn us back towards what we want or we can let go of that area and decide that it’s time to find something new to do. If you’ve been doing one form of exercise for years and you know deep down that you are only there because it’s a habit there’s probably a much more stimulating path in a new activity. If you were to think about the question ‘Is the exercise activity I choose giving me what I ultimately want from my time spent exercising?’ What would be the answers that you would come up with?
Sometimes in life the well known path isn’t actually the best path, sometimes we need to let go of what we know and move towards new experiences, experiences that can offer so much more from the activities we choose. While this inevitably will be the harder choice at the time, it can often be the choice that you will look back on in the future and realise that it was one of the best choices you ever made.
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