January 9th, 2012

wonder woman

New ruts needed

I’ve been thinking about habits. I read Zen Habits and I subscribe to Flylady’s emails, so even if I didn’t naturally think about habits, I’d be prompted to do so pretty darn often. I’ve often wished that more things in my life were as obvious and automatic as brushing my teeth, or that my memory habit that knows where anyone in the family happens to have left his or her shoes (it even works on my own shoes, as the only female around here who wears shoes!) could be applied to other memory tasks. My newest habit of biking as often as possible has proved resilient in spite of a six-week enforced break.

Habits of thinking are harder. They become the unexamined premises of life. Food is love, for example, might not be such a good thought habit to keep when love might actually want to go outside and play instead.

My reading habit does not necessarily have to be a book-storage habit. I’m still considering this one carefully. The easy-to-remove books are already gone from my shelves, the ones I didn’t like, or didn’t want to finish. Some of my books are beautiful objects as well as books. Do they get special treatment? Some would be hard to find again. Some remind me of particular times or places. Many I read again. What about lending? My shelves are the shelves of first resort for my kids. I just don’t know, but I suspect that more purges are coming, at least to make space for new developments.

Then there is the habit of assuming that everything is my fault. (The temptation to take the cheap shot at myself right here is strong.) It’s not an entirely bad way of thinking. If I am responsible for the things that go wrong, I have the power to change them for the better. But when I take responsibility for the interactions between other people, for example, I may be taking it all too far. What might go in that space if I opened it up?

Current habit undergoing transformation is, again, the Coke habit. It’s a little hard to pinpoint what I’m clearing out, since I struggle with both the sugar and the caffeine. Both need to go. For now, I get Excedrin for the caffeine and I can have things that aren’t sweetened with HFCS for the sugar part. I have all month to make further refinements.