It’s funny how a person loses appreciation for certain things over time, especially if those things are in abundance.
My parents were southern California natives, born and raised. By the time I was 5 years old, they decided they wanted an escape from the concrete jungle and rat race.
So one day my dad flew our family clear across the country and settled us in a small Georgia town. We went from living in one of the world’s most populated areas to a town that was just a speck on the map.
As I got older, I felt like I should have been growing up in the LA suburbs and beach towns rather than the sleepy rural setting I found myself in. I didn’t fit in with the people or the lifestyle.
I spent much of my youth lamenting my small town and dreaming of the exciting city life. There was an insatiable urge to leave everything behind as soon as I could and never look back. I felt like I had been deprived of something.
Sometimes our family would go on trips and drive through nearby Atlanta. I was always amazed by the city buzz. I felt like a kid in a candy store every time we drove through.
I was mesmerized by the skyscrapers and wondered how people are even capable of building such things.
I longed for the city life.
So it was a surreal moment when I finally moved to Atlanta after college. I was fortunate to get an apartment in a cool neighborhood with a city view. It was a euphoric and exciting time for me.
For the first few months instead of watching TV in the evenings, I would sit in bed with a book. I’d take breaks to stare out of my bedroom window and admire the tall buildings.
I would gaze out into what looked like a painting and try to comprehend all the unique life that was taking place within my view.
There were people in cars driving up and down the streets. People walking to and from shops and restaurants. People in their high rise condos enjoying their own views. I wondered if they enjoyed it as much as me.
At night, I could even see the blinking lights of airplanes 20 miles off in the distance as they came in for landing at the airport.
All of these people in their homes, cars, and airplanes fell into my small little vantage point.
They all had lives and stories of their own. They all had loved ones, rivals, friendships, and heartbreaks. It was fascinating to gaze out into that richness of life every single day.
I felt incredibly grateful and appreciative for it. That gratitude and appreciation led to a calm happiness.
This feeling stayed with me for quite some time. Even a year later I was still journaling about how much I loved watching the sun go down over the skyline.
Now I’ve had this view for three years. The feeling is still somewhat there, but it’s not what it once was.
I have to make more of a conscious effort to appreciate it. The magic is gone and can’t be replicated to what it used to be.
As I write these words, I gaze out at the very same view that had once so greatly fascinated me. It’s nice, but I struggle to rekindle the same feeling I had just a few years ago.
What causes this? Is it some genetic flaw of the human species? Or just my own jaded ungratefulness?
The Coolidge Effect perhaps.
Maybe it’s my subconscious telling me that I’ve stayed in the same place for too long. I always said I would have the courage and will to do what it takes to live in far away places.
Maybe it’s some combination of all the above.
It seems that no matter how much self-awareness a person likes to think they have – no one is exempt from losing some level of appreciation for something that has been had in abundance.
I’ve woken up with the same view for three years now.
The view hasn’t changed. But the feeling that used to go along with it has.
Will it be a similar experience waking up next to the same woman after many years?
I’ve loved living where I live and am fortunate for it, but things are starting to get a little too comfortable and familiar around here.
How do you typically cope when things get too familiar and the Coolidge effect begins to set in? Leave a comment in the space below.