I bring a Granny Smith apple to school every day. I used to buy different kinds of apples, but Granny Smiths are consistently crisp, tart and juicy, and gritty, mealy apples really gross me out. Don’t even get me started on the disappointment I’ve suffered from Red Delicious apples.

Last week, after a beach walk, my husband suggested going grocery shopping at Store B instead of at Store A. Now, as you may have guessed, I’m a creature of habit. I tend to drive the same route, order the same dishes at restaurants and, yeah, I prefer to shop at the same grocery store. The prices are lower, and it’s familiar. My husband, however, was convinced that the closer store was the better option, as he was itchy to get home.

So we wound up in Store B. Trying to get my bearings, I saw the familiar green Granny Smiths straight ahead. I checked the price: $1.99 a pound.

“Yikes!” I thought. “I’m pretty sure they’re at least 20 cents a pound cheaper at Store A.” As I’m nothing if not pennywise and pound foolish, I looked around at my other options. Golden Delicious. Honey Crisp. Cortland. Hmmmm … Jazz apples were on sale for $1.79 a pound. They looked OK. I carefully selected a few and put them in the cart.

The next day after school, I picked up my Jazz apple. I admit, I had been a little excited about it, wondering how this new and oh-so-red apple would taste. Slowly, I lifted it and took my first bite. A chunk broke off in my mouth. It was sweet, crunchy and delicious – almost like a different fruit!

My eyes opened to what I’d been missing. Sure, I hadn’t eaten any disgusting mealy apples lately, but I’d also forgotten all about the delicious nuances of different apple varieties.

It struck me suddenly that it’s all too easy to fall into patterns and turn them into ruts. Many patterns are based on rational decisions. For example, I still believe that my favorite grocery store is less expensive, and I save money by shopping there.

But – and this is a big but – it’s also all too easy to forget all about the other options. To consistently choose only one option because it’s known and feels safer, more reliable. To maybe slowly come to believe on some level that your choice is the best choice, and the others are somehow inferior.

Trying a Jazz apple was like a mini-awakening – a reminder that other flavors and textures are out there. Sure, I can stick with Granny Smiths and be assured of a pretty safe and tasty apple, but what am I missing? So what if there are a few duds? There are sure to be some dazzling experiences out there, too.


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