When you move into a house that was built in 1939, there’s a lot of character. Character can be defined as charming accents that aren’t common in new homes. Or it can be described as a long list of things big and small that need to be fixed.
And as we settle into our new digs, it’s clear that this house has a lot of character.
But the former owners of our new house lived with everything that I now have on my list of home repairs. Maybe they meant to get to some of them but didn’t have the time or attention. They just lived with them.
And we do the same thing in our lives in a more general sense. There are little things in our lives that could use fixing. They’ve just become part of the background of our day-to-day existence and so we don’t work on them.
Ignoring the Background
When you hang a new picture on a wall, you notice it every time you walk by it…for a week or two. And then get used to it. You adapt to it. And right now you might be hard-pressed to describe your wall art in detail.
It’s the same with all of the small inconveniences in your house. You adapt to living with them.
I’m noticing all of this character now because it’s new to me. I’m sure I’ll fix some of them, and I’m sure that some of these things I’ll just get used to. In fact, humans are wired to ignore the commonplace. It lets us focus on the new and novel things we encounter in our day.
Home repair might not be high on your list of to-dos. Heck, you might rent and not have to worry about this at all. So why am I sharing it?
What Have You Gotten Used To?
Because if we look at what we’re “used to” in our lives beyond just our homes, we start to see opportunities for change and growth right under our noses.
When we look for ways to move forward in our lives, it’s easy to think that we have to look beyond ourselves. Our instinct is to look for large, external changes we can make. We think that we have to get a new job, find a new partner, start on a Keto diet, etc.
And there is a time and a place for making these big shifts. But if we look around at our lives, there is often a list of small things that we’ve adapted to that aren’t really serving us.
Maybe you’re going to bed later than you want, you’ve allowed a coworker to treat you a way you don’t enjoy, or you’re doomscrolling on Twitter too much.
When you focus on one of those areas, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to create movement than it is on the larger projects. And they can have quite an impact.
So what have you gotten used to?
And what can you do about it?