Variety is the Spice of Life

The origins of the phrase is a William Cowper poem called “The Task” (1785):

“Variety is the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.”

And I think the original expression of this idea by Cowper was lovely. The lyrical thoughts of adding flavor and spice to one’s own life through change, through keeping it interesting and staying on your toes.

It would seem that Ralph Waldo Emerson agreed with Cowper. In his essay titled Self-Reliance, Emerson says:

“…consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds… With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.”


It would seem that some of the most notable minds agree that keeping it all mixed up and different is recommended.

So does this mean that my life is notably unspicy because I actually like a little reliability in my days?

I mean, I do like changing things up now and again…but I also thrive on setting a rhythm to my world and sticking with it. I find that by having “the little things” working like clockwork, my mind can take on the bigger things, the beautiful things, the creative things.

By knowing where my nest is, I am able to stretch my wings and fly.

Does that make me boring, sedate and tedious? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

When my world changes too much or too fast, I become lost, overwhelmed and fearful. I start to worry over the day to day tasks and The Muse that wants to soar is forced to sit quietly and wait while I sort out the details. That seems dreary to me.

Perhaps it isn’t variety that lends spice to my life, but my own discipline that allows me to add a pinch of this and a shake of that to create something savory and fulfilling and quite fantastic.

So for me, I need both. A little variety, sure, but a little consistency too. It’s a balancing act.

Or, to paraphrase a cartoon I found….if variety is the spice of life, then my own comforting patterns and routines are the meat and potatoes.

Add it all together and I devour a creative feast!

Today’s Theme Thursday is: spice

Image found here.

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  • Meryl

    I just loved this post. I love how you brought in Cowper and Emerson advocating “spicing” it up but talk of your need for routine. I find myself split on the issue. I like and need structure in my work, but love change (on my terms, ha ha). In fact, I find every three or four years, I need to change what I do just a bit to keep me fresh, creative, and interested. I have always worked professionally within education, but just about every three years my hats change…hence my new blogging (which I love) and my writing a book…

    Anyway, I’m rambling. Great post.

    • Karen Fayeth

      Meryl – I liked your comment. It’s sort of how I feel…a bit mixed on the subject. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Andy

    I like your synopsis. I too am a creature of habit and get flustered easily when things do not go according to plan. However, I firmly believe you have to shake things up every now and then with a little bit of this or some of that…but not too much…just enough to make things a little spicer than they already are :)
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Ephraim F. Moya


    Here’s some New Mexico stuff to spice up your day.

    Turn your speakers on then click here

    EFM ‘El Viejo’

  • Ephraim F. Moya


    I believe the word you mean is spelled ‘guerita’ (light skinned girl)
    This one DOES sing well. She’s still alive and living in Carmel Valley, CA.

    Tu Servidor,
    El Viejo

    • Karen Fayeth

      Yeah, I figured I probably spelled it wrong (don’t know that I’ve ever written that word, honestly. Only spoken..or rather, been called it). You know what I meant…..

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