This morning I took a walk and discovered a new grocery store.
It was new to me, not new in an absolute sense. And it was close. Very close. Closer than the tiny grocery store of dubious quality I’ve been going to since I moved into my flat here in Cluj, and the new one is far bigger and shinier, as well.
All this time it was right there. If I had just turned down a little side street a few weeks ago, I would have had access to far more food options sooner. It all could have been mine.
Of course, it was mine all along, I just wasn’t making use of it. This grocery store was just around the corner from my usual morning route around downtown, so the only thing keeping me from it was my own choice not to explore in that direction.
It’s akin to having a box in your attic that’s full of gold. If you ever take the time to go through that box, you’ll be a very happy person. But until you do it’s just potential value, not real value. It’s of no use to you or anyone else. It’s an untapped resource. Just a box.
The same is true with people, I find. Often we have skills or dreams or goals that are just around the corner of some neural pathway or accidental encounter with a new sport or industry or hobby. If we take the time to get to know ourselves, to really, really get to know ourselves on an intimate level that leaves no stone unturned, no box in the attic unopened, and no side street unexplored, who knows what untapped resources we might discover, ready to be made use of?
Grocery stores, gold, and hidden aspects of ourselves. All go unused and have no value unless we stay curious and act on that curiosity.
Update: February 19, 2017
The way I usually express this concept today is that your favorite food in the world may be Moroccan food, but you’ll never know it if you never try Moroccan food. The world is full of potential favorites, of music, cuisine, books, people, who may be capable of amplifying all the joy you currently feel, of allowing you to reach peaks of happiness you cannot imagine today. But until you go find them, you cannot know which is which.