Today I felt a great thirst for novel experience, I feel like my days have been on repeat since two years ago—many people may relate to this because of COVID restrictions. In Mexico most things are operating normally since a month ago, yet my routine remains mostly the same. I feel a strange ambiguity towards change, it’s like being hungry but unable to eat.
At a rational level, I know new experience never fails to inspire me, yet there is a tingle of discomfort which makes all sort of excuses to arise. This is the bane of intuitive people, because we are used to making decisions based on feeling, but sometimes feeling miscalibrates under exceptional circumstances. Being home-bound for almost two years makes any sort of exploration seem threatening.
So I’m having second thoughts vacations: “what would I be taking vacations from? I have the life I want”—but then, as I inspect more closely, I sense fear of the unknown. I wish to walk as I did in Spain, but this time in Mexico. Then a whole bunch of uncertainty crops up: there are no albergues here and I’d have to plan a route very carefully, and I’m not sure about how safe it is, and… all sorts of excuses arising from fear show up.
So today, instead of doing what I do every day, I went to a farmer’s market to buy interesting items which I haven’t tried before. Then I went to a new gym where I hadn’t been before. Throughout these new experiences I found some part of myself protesting that these were subpar experiences and I would have been better off doing what I do every day.
I think it is Dan Gilbert who affirms that we are not good at predicting our own happiness. One example he puts forth is that we think we’ll be more satisfied if we go to a new restaurant, but we are actually happier if we just go to the same restaurant that we like. I think this assertion misses the point: it is true at the moment of experience, but if you visited a different restaurant every day for a year, you’d have a different kind of satisfaction, that of having a large surface of experience. You would remember very good and very bad gastronomical experiences, and both are interesting in their own way. I’d rather have this than a pleasant meal every day.
I feel like it is time to shake things up, I’m bored about everything (writing my work logs included!), and at the same time fearful about trying out new things, because my openness-to-experience muscles are somewhat atrophied. It’s just a matter doing what I did today: choose simple experiences and do them even if they cause discomfort. Eventually, I hope, I will regain use of my exploration faculties and be able to walk in Mexico under such uncertain circumstances.