I’ve become a creature of habit. For the first time in my life, they’re good habits and truthfully, I don’t know where they’ve come from. I’ve certainly had habits before, but most of the time they’ve been not so good. Nothing terrible. I bite my nails. Or I did. More of a nibble now and again these days. I’ve even been told some of my worrying is out of habit. I guess that makes sense.
I think it all started because my dishwasher sucks.
About a year, maybe two ago our old dishwasher gave up its mechanical ghost to, well, wherever it is that dishwasher ghosts end up after their final rinse cycle. The landlord sent maintenance to put in a new one. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but I’ve come to believe that the bits and pieces of equipment making up said dishwasher would have been better suited to have, oh I don’t know, been a blender. Or a sporty race car. Heck, maybe even a robotic ballerina. Instead, the hopes and dreams of all of the pieces-parts were dashed when they realized that they were destined for the life of a dishwasher.
I’ll be honest. It would depress me too.
To make a long story a little shorter (though not by much) I gave up on the sad piece of machinery and finally decided to leave it alone to brood in the corner and think about its existence. I now do my dishes by hand. It was a struggle at first, but now it’s become a necessary part of my day. I listen to music as I clean them, happy that they’re actually getting cleaner than they were in my severely disappointed with its lot in life dishwasher. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. It kills my back, but whatever. It doesn’t take long. I almost enjoy the task.
Of course, not constantly having a sink full of dishes makes me want to wipe the counters down as well as the stove. Might as well make sure the floor is swept. And if I do the kitchen, I *have* to do the dining room since they are connected. In short (again, not really) my house has become the cleanest it’s been in ages. I’m the mouse that has been given a cookie and it all fits together and that’s just how it is. Granted, I don’t clean top to bottom every day, but it feels much nicer to keep things in order.
So habit number two. I’m picking up after myself better. I’m a slob. I always have been. Not the nasty sort with melted what I think might have been cheese at some time encrusted upon the breast of my shirt worn proudly like a war medal… just… messy. Unorganized. I’m still unorganized in some ways, but it’s getting better.
Habit three. Since doing the dishes kills my back, immediately after the task I take the time to unplug, go get in the tub and have some relaxing me time. Sometimes I meditate. I’ve used more bubblebath and facial masks in the past few months than I ever have. The important thing is that I’m taking my time and taking care of me for a little while. Not just a quick shower and back to whatever needs to be done. That feels really good. I’ve created a routine. I use body lotion and moisturizer now! Wow! Who knew what regular use could do? Ok, ninety-nine percent of the world knows this, but hey, it’s new to me. And I love it!
Habit four. (Which in reality probably predates some of this, I just happened to think about it after I typed out “three.” It’s my blog. I say it’s “four”) I get everything ready for the next morning. Coffee maker filled and timer set for when I get up. Dishes together for breakfast, any pans ready that I might want to use. I make sure I have Chad’s lunch ready to pack for him to take to work the next day. I also make sure he’s got clean clothes and that I haven’t spazzed on laundry and he’ll have to wear his holey drawers on meeting day. And yeah, I like doing that sort of thing. He’s perfectly capable of fixing a lunch or keeping tabs on his laundry, but for some sick, sad reason, I like the fact that I’m helping his world be a little less stressful. Have you seen him in the morning? You’d thank me for that.
Now I’m looking for new ways to develop new habits. I’m trying not to push it. I’ve asked myself, am I established enough in all of this “new” that it won’t feel like I’m piling more “have-tos” on myself? I don’t want my day to be one big routine. I’m a Sagittarius. We get bored and distracted easily…
Oh sorry. Ok, where was I? Ah yes.
I’ve asked myself, what do I need to do? Well, I need to move more. I’m happy to report at this writing, I am sixty-five pounds lighter than I was this time last year. That’s just from going back on the di… er sorry “lifestyle changes” that my doctor has prescribed. That, along with finally getting help for my lupus has made a tremendous difference in my pain levels and movement. I have joined a thirty day exercise challenge online. It’s a small group and so far it seems like it will be a good plan of action. Just fifteen minutes of something a day. Yoga, stretching, walking, whatever. Just something. I can do “something.” I’ve even made a chart with little bird stickers to reward myself for doing “something” every day. I’m apparently either a sucker for bird stickers or still a three year old at heart because I look forward to the reward.
Yes. I’ve been told I need help. I like to think I’m just “eccentric” at times.
This brings me to the other thing that I hope to make into habit, and thats getting back to writing and my blog.
When I started this, I had no real plan other than more or less as a journal. I figured I’d just sit down and write like I used to. At this point, I have about 30 posts that I’ve started and either chickened out on actually posting or never bothered to finish. It’s all been stuff I’ve forced or involved things that I realized I wasn’t ready to put out there for the world. That’s okay, it’s still written. I don’t have to share everything. I get that. However, I’m not even doing any of this with any regularity.
I have discovered and have recently had to admit to myself that I hate journaling. No offense to anyone who feels drawn to it. You do you. I just never have really clicked with the concept. Maybe I’ve had too narrow an idea about what journaling is. Who knows. I recently started seeing a new therapist and that’s all she wanted me to do was journal. I was to write down every horrible, negative, downright awful thing I’ve lived through and that has gone through my mind. And then I was to go back and highlight the journal entries in bright, meaningful color coded swatches and tell myself that it’s not so bad, really. That all of the yellow words are things that could be discounted for being an immature state of mind, that all of the pink things were from people I didn’t even know… and all of the blue words, I don’t even remember what the blue words were for. The whole project made me feel more stress than I initially did walking into her office. I’m sure this really works for some people, but for me, it didn’t. She didn’t know how else to help me if I didn’t journal and color. And here we are.
So if I don’t “journal” what do I write then? What *is* this Blog about? I dunno. What day is it? Is it raining? I’ve decided it doesn’t have to be about anything. I don’t have to have a format. I think breaking that idea from my mind will help. If I feel like posting a photo of dryer lint. Guess what? IT’S FRIGGIN SHOW ME YOUR LINT DAY!! If I feel like talking about how I feel about something, I can do that too. And I have *so* many stories in my mind. Things that have actually happened. Not talking the traumatic sorts of stories, (necessarily), and certainly not fiction, but the kind of stories and experiences that come up in conversation and at the end someone says “you need to write that down!” I get told that a lot. I’m kind of thinking this would be a good place for that kind of thing. (Getting pepper-sprayed at work, the time Uncle Jerry’s chimp decided to shave his brother, what happens when you chug ten Jug-O-Juice on a hot day… ok, maybe not that last one. I feel ill remembering it.) They may not be long, they may even be handed down, but that’s okay too. I can tell a story and that’s what I need to start doing more often.
I’m not going to promise that I’ll be writing every day any more than I’ve promised my exercise group I’ll be doing an hour of high impact cardio per day. I’m going to take it at my own pace and see what I feel like day by day. Barriers of what this “should” be removed from my mind, maybe it will be a little easier.
We’ll see what happens.
Oh, and I’m not sure if anyone even reads this, but throw things my way if I’ve told you a story you want me to relate or know of something I can ramble on about. Sometimes I just need a prompt.
Here’s to hoping you’re sick of me very soon, and hopefully more good habits.