“Without new experiences, something inside us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” (Frank Herbert)
I can’t recall where I came across Frank Herbert’s resounding observation last week, but it’s hardly left my mind since. It stirred up a little whirlwind in my thinking, an accounting I suppose, of experiences. It seems rather obvious that new things will enrich our lives and give us a different perspective. But it’s terribly easy to live one day bumping into the next in comfortable predictability. I’m by no means a stranger to comfortable predictability. I took four pounds of Superstore coffee with me to Europe last year to avoid unpredictability in coffee. As it was, there was plenty of predictable coffee in Europe.
I’ve been in the process of adding a few new things to life, some classes, an art history tour, a few short trips. In spite of how appealing it sounds (and is, once it gets rolling), initially these new things are kind of frightening. It took me a year and a half of very part-time studies to finally not withdraw or audit part way through a semester. I’ve been planning on travelling since I left high school. But things (some very good things, like five kids) happened along the way and life just got busy. And then suddenly I was 50, and even that was five years ago! What the heck happened?
I went to see The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel this week. It’s a funny, heartening story of a group of English retirees who’ve moved to India as long-term guests of a dilapidated but charming hotel. Cut off from their pasts, they reinvent new lives for themselves in a strange and exotic culture. The San Francisco globe described it as, ” “a rare reminder from movies that the grand emotions are not only for the young and the middle-aged”.
I appreciate the reminder that life can be full and fresh all along the way. I found a recipe spiked with coriander and cumin that I plan to try tonight. It’s not exactly moving to the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, but I think it captures a bit of the essence of what both the Marigold and Herbert are trying to communicate. Our worlds become richer with new experience, whether they be flavours, ideas or seeing new places.
Shaking it up a bit is a very good thing, whatever form it takes.
(Moroccan Dinner at San Francisco’s Marrakech Restaurant. What an awesome shake up that was!)