Living Outside the Box

Originally Posted on February 1, 2014 by BJ Howell.

I think it’s safe to say that most people like some sense of “normalcy”. Routine, habits, sticking with what’s known, etc. While that’s comfortable and safe, it’s not true living. If you follow my blog you will know that I like challenges. This past month the challenge was to go 30 days without eating out. I am happy to say that I have completed the challenge successfully. I think the one thing that I learned was how changing my routine changes my perception. Today, since my challenge was over, I decided to get pizza. I have a specific pizza restaurant that I’ve been going to since I moved to Raleigh 15 years ago. I’ve strayed every now and then but when I say I like routine, I mean that…I…like…routine. So when I walked in my restaurant and realized that something had changed, my immediate thought was to tip toe back out the door. Everything appear the same but there was a fundamental difference. I didn’t recognize anyone. While I was busy challenging myself, management and staff at my favorite spot changed!

My second thought was that this isn’t my favorite pizza place anymore, but then I caught myself. I thought about my routine and my need to be “in the know” and how comfortable familiarity is to me. I live in the box. I know this. Even when I venture out, inviting excitement into my world, at some point I slide right back into that cozy little box. It’s a habit. But when I see it, I have to take steps to correct it. Will I continue to slip back into that cozy box, where everything is safe and familiar? Probably. But in my mind, meeting an unconscious habit with a conscious choice for change makes me feel like I’m ahead of the game. So I’ll go back to this restaurant and get to know the new staff. Who knows, they may be as fabulous as the last staff.

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