Force of Habit

I find it strange that for a species that has constantly been pushing boundaries forward and venturing into the unknown, we find so much solace and comfort in habits. It’s also very weird how these habits develop, and how easy it is to get one ingrained into your system.

For example, till last month, I religiously woke up at 8:07AM every morning. Or 7:30AM, if I had the willpower to run in the morning. 8:07 was a deliberate decision – that optimal time between when the washroom is crowded enough so you can ask someone else if there is hot water (or mentally prepare yourself for the worst shock), but not crowded enough that you’re seeing someone else’s toothpaste foaming before you. The hostel’s waking up at 8:07. Everyone’s alarm is going off, which is also a good way to catch up with pop culture – because alarms are representative of the most “in-demand” tune at the moment. All in all, a wonderful time to wake up.

It took me 3 days to break out of 8:07, and push back to 7:40 (on days when I sleep through the 7AM alarms). My body now wills itself to wake up because it believes it should respond to messages and read some news. 3 days to break a habit that was a result of experimentation in first year, and has matured over 2 years. That’s an awfully short time.

But let’s talk about other peculiarities. I sit only on the left edge of a three-seated bench. As a consequence, the discomfort of sitting anywhere else in class plays around with my perception of the class. I am more likely to doze off to sleep when I’m sitting in a seat that isn’t mine. I am also more likely to continuously shift around, in an attempt to find that perfect balance of “enough desk to support my elbow” and “enough elbow to elbow room”. A result of being left-handed, I need to ensure my elbow gets enough place to support my southpaw, and that I don’t piss off my neighbours by wrecking their delightfully neat notebooks.

I also sit next to the same two people everyday, something that has also evolved over 2 years. What began as the result of three people refusing to give up in classes that were undeniably boring has become companionship I cherish. The bench I look to share pieces of good news with first, aside from my debating partner & other friends. The bench that creates the lamest jokes in class. But also the bench that is able to find that balance between zoning out and engaging with the Professor sufficiently – such that you’re never in anyone’s bad books. It’s also the bench that’s helped me make a somewhat triumphant return to maintaining my attendance percentages.

Which leads me to my mini-conclusion, I guess.

We find comfort in habits because they’re the only things that help us remain sane in an ever-changing world.

Profound enough?

No?

I’ll explain. See, over the last semester, the one thing I’ve sort of figured is that reclusing into a mind cave is a bad idea. But speaking more generally, you’re likely to face a multitude of challenges and emotions on a day-to-day basis. Habit helps you cope with changing emotions by providing a familiar environment.

Also helps give your body some rhythm. All about that healthy living, folks.

I understand the writing has dipped in quality. Call it the lean July period. Blame my internship. Blame 3000 for making me use all the words in my dictionary on a daily basis. Just, don’t blame me.

Let me know what you think!

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