I’ve come to realize that I am a creature of habit, even more so than I thought was.
You see, I learned this past week I was a victim of fraud. Somehow, somewhere, my bank card was compromised and my numbers were used on a shopping spree in New York. I have never even been on a shopping spree in New York, but at least I can now say that my money was!
Ok, all humour aside, the fraud was bad enough, but having to change my PIN number was equally traumatic. I guess having the same PIN number for over 12 years was a definite sign that I don’t like change. (I probably have broken a few security guidelines by not having changed it sooner as well.)
I have tried, on different occasions, to use different codes and numbers than the ones I currently use, but the problem always occurs that I CAN’T REMEMBER THEM. It gets kind of awkward when you keep having to call your credit card company in order to get a new PIN number or password. I can’t remember new numbers because they are out of habit for me. Habits, for me, are very hard to break.
Now don’t get me wrong, some habits are very good and really don’t need breaking. Healthy habits in regards to eating, exercising, and good mental health are usually always positive and result in good things, but why is it that those habits, those positive things, are the ones that are easiest to quit? The bad habits (snacking at nighttime, staying in bed too long in the mornings, making those “quick” meal choices instead of healthier options) are the ones that are the easiest to continue and the hardest to break free from. An issue as simple as changing one’s PIN number, even after fraud, is such a hard thing to get used to, the old numbers are a habit to break. I’ve still typed in the old PIN number when I have been brave enough to use my card again.
Breaking habits can also be uncomfortable. We may rely on our habits as a source of comfort to us as we go about our daily lives. I have a habit of ordering the same things at the places I frequent for meals. It often makes me a tad uncomfortable when I try to step out of my comfort zone and order something different. I am also usually a bit disappointed with my meal as well when I stray from my “usual”. I have a habit, then, to sticking to things that I know I will be happy with. It’s not really a good or bad habit, but it is a habit or pattern that I seem to follow.
Then there are those bad habits, the ones that are more detrimental to our health, the addictive ones that are often so hard to break that medical intervention is required to stop them. I raise my hat to anyone who has overcome one of those tendencies. Strength of character is often necessary and sure to ensue for the ending of these difficult to break habits.
Problems often result when our habits control us and our lives instead of us being in control of them. When the habit starts to control or limit what we do or don’t do in our lives, in a way that limits us, it is time to take a good look at the habit itself and how much that habit has changed or altered our lifestyle, for better or for worse.
A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to spend a weekend in the same city where I lived for five years attending university. Thirteen years ago I left Kingston and the university lifestyle to continue my life back home where I now still live. There was a certain comfortable feeling about being there again. On a beautiful sunny morning, we walked the waterfront by Battery Park, looked onto Old Fort Henry, and across Lake Ontario to Wolfe Island (a view now scattered with wind turbines in every glance).
We walked through the marketplace and examined the wares, many vendors completely different from the ones I knew in the past. We drove past my first apartment, which was centrally located downtown. At one time it was a hip and modern building (at least to us it was). Now it was almost unrecognizable having been completely converted into a well known business.
It was a strange experience but yet not unpleasant, to be there again where the habits of a university student’s life were completely different from my own current habits. Part of me wanted to relive the past – I even yearned momentarily for the university life again where the only responsibilities I had were to go to class, study, and pay rent. I had only myself to be responsible for back then. Habits such as being able to stay up till all hours, sleep in, and go wherever and whenever I wanted to at a moment’s notice are now a thing of the past. Those habits have been replaced with early bedtimes to accommodate early mornings, four sets of clothes set out the night before, meals planned, lunches made, and numerous sports activities and appointments on the family schedule.
Those old university habits weren’t entirely hard to break, to be honest, mainly due to the fact that moving away from my university town allowed me to change them pretty easily as I began a different version of life. New habits began to form as a professional in my field and becoming a wife and then a few years later, a mother. Not all the habits were/are bad, once again. There comes a comfort and familiarity with these patterns in our life, as long as they don’t work to hurt us in the long run. (Please see one of my previous posts – Breaking Patterns and Keeping It Real)
There was a comfort in remembering the way things were that weekend away but there was also a certain satisfaction to coming back to the present, habits and all. There is also some excitement in not knowing what the future might hold – new habits to form and old ones to break as life continues on.
(Dear Readers, Thank you so much for choosing the habit of reading this blog, Writing For The Love Of It! I am pleased to announce that the first draft of my novel has made it through three very successful test reads! I am now feeling confident enough to make some minor edits and actively search for an agent and/or publishing company! Thank you for sharing this journey with me. Yours, ~ K~)