I know that I always say “this occurred to me the other day” or “something that has been bothering me for a while” and stuff like that. Well. This one just kind of slid in there. It hasn’t really bothered me, and it didn’t come to me in a flash of lightning with halos or Bach music. It gently settled in my brain and would not let go until I wrote it out. The reason this one itches in my brain is because I am wondering if it is true, or if I am merely tagging on to the “it was different back then” band-wagon of the people who think that “things are only getting worse all the TIME and the universe is going to implode REALLY REALLY SOON!” I don’t know, because usually, my ball is never in that court. (Or rather, if I owned a ball, it wouldn’t be). I tend to think that little has changed about mankind over the last thousand or so years, and little will change. It does make sense, however, that with technological change and “improvement”, something will change in the way humans think and feel, and the greatest change I have perceived is this: new is always better.
If you are awesome, like me, you will recognise this quote from How I Met Your Mother‘s Barney. Though he does little to give the argument credibility, we do our best to preserve its validity. There was a time when the older something was the more valuable. When the fact that you had had a bag for 10 years meant it was good quality and you should be proud, but it now means that you are stingy/un-hip/”poor you! you can’t afford a new bag!” Huh. Wait. Why is new always better?
I believe that I mentioned a similar issue in a blogpost not too long ago. Since it is so easy to find those “other fish in the sea”, people are not so wary about breaking up any more. There must be a switch somewhere in the back of our heads going “So this person you’re with… you love them very much, they’re alright, no real problems… but we’re just not as excited any more! The sex isn’t as great, we don’t talk as often, or as much, we’ve just lost it. Hey, who’s that hottie?” (I will concur that “hottie” is probably not a word that people use during an internal monologue, but you get my point). So we keep going, from new partner to new partner, because new is always better. It is exciting, it is different, we can go through all those tingly first feelings again, and think that this time, we are actually really in love… until it happens all over again.
So as we sit there, longing for the newest tv-series, the new iPhone, that organic cotton-rug from Madagascar, the solar-powered spaghetti-machine from Japan… As we worry about being able to afford a whole new wardrobe for the summer so people won’t see us wearing the same stuff, and what our next shade of dark-brown hair-dye is going to look like compared to the one we’ve got (I’m sorry, no-one will notice. Trust me. I’ve been there), and if the guy across the street has more abs than the guy next door so maybe we should focus our flirtations on him instead… do we question our reasoning? What is the logic behind this “new is always better” stuff?
My theory is that we are constantly stuck in an “upgrade in progress” loop, where we believe that we are improving ourselves and our lives through this new stuff. We are so busy admiring that thing we don’t have yet that we fail to notice all the things we DO have that we used to feel that way about. We get something new, and a week or two later, we rage about how inadequate it is, and start looking for what we should have gotten instead, and will certainly save up for. We notice all the ways that the thing we wanted didn’t meet our expectations, and firmly believe that there is something shiny out there that will, we just have to keep looking.
Aha. That must be why we are still looking. Because there obviously is, you just haven’t found it yet.
If you get tired at some point though, maybe you can re-evaluate what you are ACTUALLY looking for, as you huff and puff, flat out on the floor. My bet is that a) you already have it, b) your expectations are set too high, so stop watching all those Disney-movies and start looking at what life is actually like, or c) OK, so maybe this thing or person is out there, and they are real, and they are flawless and you’ll never ever get tired of them or bored because life will be all rosy and perfect if you find them… If you feel that way, by all means, keep looking. You may be right. In the meantime, I shall sit here with my broken, worn down things, and be extremely happy over having them. Partially because I see all these people around me being so frustrated with their new, shiny things that aren’t what they expected. And partially because I know I won’t find peace over the next hill, if I can’t find it right where I’m sitting. There is only one thing that getting something new will give you, and that is a guarantee: something new.