find magic instead

This post was originally written for subscribers of the daily taryn, a writing project started in Dec 2017. Now's the perfect time to join, so I'll hold while you do so. Love u.

Routine is the enemy of time.
The Upper Haight

The Upper Haight

About a year ago now, Kristina lived with me for few a months while she was looking for a new apartment in SF. It was awesome. I was learning so much about her. What candy she craves at night. What she’s like on an average day at 9:00pm. What we do when we can’t decide what we want to do. How rushed she is in the morning. It was so fun to learn all the things.


At some point, things that used to be fun and new and special became normal and uneventful and routine. When we used to treat movie nights like dates, we now treated them like just another thing we did before bed. When we used to huddle around a pint of Ben & Jerry’s like it was our little secret, we now fought over who got the bigger chunk of brownie. We were less friendly, less forgiving, and less explorative of each other. There was still so much to learn, but the routine of it blinded us. 

I think about this often. I love routine because it keeps me grounded. I hate routine because it makes good things boring.

It’s way too easy for things to get stale — especially things that should never get stale, like jobs, hobbies, commutes, songs, or people.

This bothers me to my core. I hate when it feels like things lose their magic, because that’s just not what’s happening. The thing is not any less magical. You’re just not seeing it.

When you first start a new job, every hand you shake and email you get is a pleasant surprise. When you take a new commute to work, every road is pretty and twisty, and every tree is somehow greener on these streets. When you first fall in love, every little thing that person does is magic. Everything. It’s like climbing a ladder that never ends, and you never lose your breath. 

Enter time. People say that things lose magic because time passes. To that, I say, take it away Lao Tzu:

Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.’

When you say you don't have time to notice, to appreciate, to revel in the little things that once gave you the goosebumps, you are really saying you don't want to.



To combat this, I try to notice new things every day. Big or small, silly or hard, minute or monumental. Whatever it is, find something. 

The next time you’re at work, find something new. The way the light hits the wall. The special pen your coworker uses. The exact minute you start to crave coffee. 

The next time you’re with someone you think you’re familiar with, find something new. A freckle. A mannerism. An inflection in their laugh when they’re about 80% through and about to take a breath to do it again. 

The next time you’re feeling stuck, reliving your own personal groundhog’s day, choose something new. Make a left instead of a right. Buy the person behind you coffee. Read Scifi instead of business.


Here are some quick photos I took today on a new route home. Safe to say, I found magic.




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