Heather recently moved out of an inside lot in our neighborhood and into a nearby subdivision where her house backs up to a small lake. Today she was telling me how much she loves being on the lake, and she asked me: "Do you eventually get used to it?"
I had to think about that a bit.
I absolutely love looking out of the windows of my house at the view. It is ever changing and often just awesomely beautiful, especially right now in the summer when everything is green and on a sunny day the lake reflects the bright blue sky and shimmers like a diamond. I feel so fortunate to have that to look at. But I must admit that there are days when I am going through the tasks of the morning and I'll realize that I haven't even glanced out the window yet. When I become conscious of that I usually stop what I'm doing and walk over and take it in. But you just know that there are sure to be times when I'm just living out my life against this incredible backdrop and simply not realizing it's there at all.
A person can get used to anything, and I have to think that it's good to be able to be used to something wonderful, as long as you periodically pause to appreciate it. Maybe it's still there, making you happy on some unconscious level. As opposed to the things that we become used to that aren't so great. Are they also there, annoying me on some layer of my brain, cancelling out the good ones?
An example of this could be that broken washing machine knob of mine. I had all the good intentions to get it a new one, I looked it up online but I could only find the model number for our dryer and not the washer. One website wanted $9.00 for it and I didn't want to spend that for a 10 cent piece of plastic unless I was sure it was the right one, so I put it off. So now every time I do a load of laundry (which is quite often) I grab a screwdriver to get it going. And I've become used to it, so it doesn't really bother me to do that anymore, and I hardly see the need to get it replaced.
I think that you can get used to a lot of things that if viewed by an outsider would seem utterly ridiculous, yet they become such a part of your routine that you aren't even thinking about them. I remember Aileen had a clunker car in college that had a broken driver's side door. So she would slide across through the passenger side. It was just what she did. But having any car in those days was a privilege you just didn't complain about. Another thing that comes to mind is when I was at work we had ID cards that you had to slide through these readers to get through doors all day long. We were also issued "property removal passes" that were the same size and most of us carried around attached to the same clip. But to slide the one through the reader you'd have to separate the two. One day my friend Nancy (a different Nancy!) announced that she'd removed the package pass from the clip, thus simplifying her life in one small way. I quickly followed suit and was delighted every time I slid my card through the reader that it was now easier to do. Even though I hadn't actually realized that the old way was that much more difficult. I then resolved that I should try to look for the little, easy to change annoyances in my life to eliminate, possibly adding up to an incrementally higher level of happiness.
Maybe it's just the analytical engineer in me that's looking for a mathematical formula for subconscious annoyance vs enjoyment when all I really need to do is try to remember to appreciate the good things in my life, change the bad things when I can, and the rest: just get used to it.