[This is the 4th (of 5) revisits and recasting of a previous post…from one of our first, almost 11 months ago.]
A rewording of “Wise Words (a)” from Feb. 12, 2013, may not be for you. But it’s definitely for me. (1) I’m such a creature of habit! (2) I can put off minor disagreeable things for years. (3) Hence I can miss good things.
Rarely can people make you “change.”
Eleven months ago I said:
On the daily way to your “interstate of life,” consider (again) 3 principles¹ side-by-side:
(1) Good routine is efficient.
(2) Yet it doesn’t have to be done that way.
(3) Cutting back, or cutting out, can be wise
and even brilliant.
. . . . .
[For more use the DOOR…the one on the screen, not with the screen…]
I look in the mirror of my soul²…
(1) I’m a breakfast rat. Out in the early darkness, I prowl for inexpensive places where I can discover I’m not in the way, and finding them, mixing up the days I will return (in a pattern, of course) so as not to make myself appear odious or seem that needy or omnipresent, and seating myself in a familiar booth, I make a simple order that I never change (because my mind is still tuned-in to the Mother Ship). My wife is still home sound asleep (she needs a couple of hours more than I do). The black coffee and oatmeal appear with a smile that (successfully) anticipates a slightly generous tip and the expectation that my table will be left as clean (or cleaner) than I found it. Headlights still tunnel through the thinning darkness muting the sounds of tires close behind. (a) My Kindle begs me to open it and (b) my Mac keyboard (yes, the free wi-fi here really works) is ready. Brown sugar has melted in my oatmeal and the coffee begins to work…
I’m into my routine. Which I can happily do over and over and over. Now I’ve illustrated #1 (above). For two hours, outside of my skin, “I’m the most boring man in the world.”
And am not bothered by that.
“Stay thirsty, my friend.”³
(2) At several restaurants I’ve tried a meal or two, and finding the one that’s acceptably delicious (“cheap” and not calorie-loaded), I’ve ordered the same one ever since. Datum: I can eat almost anything, but, familiar with science,I’m a bit choosey. I’m at the age where being a food adventurer is not on my to-do list. Especially at breakfast. Most tempting “new foods” are calorie rich. Give me a point for that. It’s also a habit–a solid one. I drive home the same way I came. Habit. Of course, when I’m in PA, the route’s different, but the pattern’s the same. Habit.
Now after posting this obviously true triad of observations (cited at the beginning) 11 months ago, I determined to push a bit more of change. For a psychological lift if nothing else. Now with only the slightest wandering, I’ve blazed new trails home. Even, more daring, I’ve discovered new ways to return to the rat nest of the rest of the day. So new adventures have come. I rarely buy a newspaper anymore. Print news is “thin” and expensive. A new habit, but one I occasionally break. Computer technology’s been part of the engine here. And doing these posts–about 150 0f them now. And keeping up with the continual changes needed with keeping a site going. (Not easy for me; new science is; but new technology drummed up by nerds in their cubicles (with their backs to the window) who’ve no clue or interest in whether the sun’s shining outside…is not.) That’s enough for #2…
[Flash! I’ve worked hard to improve the speed of moving around in this site and have, I think some good overall results. Could you tell me if you see any improvement?]
(3) Some things now I’ve seriously cut back, cut out, or completely changed. And though you’ll shake your head and/or laugh, creatures of habit, by exercising their marvelous powers of the human conscious mind (sound familiar?), can look in the mirror and decide to take serious action. I’m no victim! I can change. Here are some “never-can-or-will-dos” from my past couple of years. I’m sure, though, that some will find some of these things ridiculously easy. But not for me. Again, I’ll number, I’ll use brackets:  After a lifetime of wearing bluejeans when I could get away with it, I’ve switched to dark cargo denims. Why? More comfortable pocket space, and a side sleeve for my Kindle library.  After something less than a century of carrying a crowded billfold in my left hip pocket, I carry it in my left front pocket. Why? More comfort and also safety. But also very, very hard to adjust to.  Now it’s just 2 games at a time in pickle ball, not 2 hours straight. Why? I could do it, but now my legs would hold the memories of my wins 2 days. Not with agony, mind you, just weariness.  I rearranged my office furniture in my FL office so the desk where I now sit tilts out at an angle from the window. (Had to move a file cabinet, a heavy dresser filled with everything, manipulate a half-dozen heavy wires, and break a tall lamp. In the past, I’ve had to change houses to rearrange furniture. My wife came in when I was halfway done and made a disparaging comment. I said nothing back (another change…give me another point) and gritting my teeth, I knew I had to slog on to completion before going to bed. (Pickle ball is easier…) What joy now, sitting here facing a new direction. Perhaps that’s led to this touchy-feely, lighten-it-up post.
I need a new paragraph break… As collectors and random organizers (I’ll include my wife here), we have many things in many places. This has led to designing the “15-minute mad terror attack” with which we’ve had irregular success. It goes something like this (and it’s especially useful if you’re surrounded by a couple of dozen “miscellaneous drawers.” With a wastebasket and a large empty box beside where you sit, you pull out a drawer from your bureau or desk and attack it for 15 minutes, rapidly throwing things away, and putting other can’t-lose stuff in the empty box (which now becomes “special”). You can begin to organize what’s left as you go. See how much you can do in 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, stop, slide the box to the side, and return to your life. Return to your adventure the next day. (New problem, however: Where do you put your new collection of “special boxes”? New discovery, though: You find all that lost stuff that you’ve already replaced.)
Enough of that.
One more thing to mention: As of the end of 2012, no more karate tournaments. In my last first-and-only round I didn’t get knocked out, or even knocked out of the ring. I can live with that.
And I enjoy life.
But among my habits–and they are efficient and helpful–I will retain at least one leg-friendly karate form for the front porch, and a lighted candle for every evening meal. Some traditions are forever. ♥
And I now know just where the candle supply and matches are kept.
¹ These principles, though slightly revised, remain the same. (Revision always helps.)
² “Soul” is not quite the same thing as spirit, but let’s not take time to parse that…
³ If this puzzles you, Google “Dos Equis.” (You’ll enjoy it.)