Friday, September 23, 2005

Bad habits


I suppose "bad habits" is a bit over stated. It just seemed to match the photo better. I was just thinking this morning about how easy it is to become set in my ways about doing things a certain way.

I have been riding the train to work for about a month now and already I have got into the habit of parking in the same spot at the station, standing at the same spot on the platform and rushing in when the train doors open to sit in the same seat. The other day someone was sitting in "my" seat and I almost screamed at them. If I was a dog, I think I would have lifted my leg and marked the damned seat right then and there.

But I am a civilized individual. I just muttered and glared and slunk off to find another seat that I'm sure belonged to someone else as well.

I think we cling to our petty little patterns because there are very few things we can actually control in our lives. And I've never been an individual who embraced change for change's sake.
This is ironic since I also get bored easily.

This is not to say that it is impossible for me to change or break habits. I chewed my fingernails for almost 45 years and then stopped last spring before my wedding because I was ashamed of how my fingers would have looked in the wedding photos of our hands and rings. I haven't chewed them since.

I also used to be a notorious packrat. I couldn't throw anything away. The past six months or so of merging households and moving into a new house has really changed that. And it's not just circumstances that have changed. I don't want tons of stuff anymore. Proof: on my recent trip to Reno, I didn't buy a single tacky souvenir. In the past I would have come home with at least two t-shirts and a clock with dice on the dials.

Maybe it's an age thing. My priorities are shifting along with my body parts. But at least I think I'm proving that, although you may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, you can at least paper train him.
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