Day 16: Habits and addictions
Habits and addictions, some are silly, some serious; when we have issues without answers, they can hold us so tight that we stop moving forward with the life we intended.
Were you able to loosen those fetters this year, and if you were successful, how did you manage it? Did you accept outside help, or work alone?
If you still feel that grasp of addiction or hurtful habits, what will you do differently in the year to come?
Content note: discussion of habits in general; also eating habits and deliberate variation of same
I am not really a creature of habit. I am more, I suppose, a creature of enthusiasms. I fall into them fast and hard, and out of them just as easily, and then, after months or years, remember about them and fall just as hard as I did the first time. Since this appears to be just the way I work, I’ve decided to let that happen, ride the waves when they come in, and enjoy the beach when they don’t.
Conversely, I seem to be fortunate enough to be largely indifferent to commonly addictive things. I can drink every night for a month and not miss it when I stop, give up chocolate or coffee or whatever for Lent without a struggle. There are little irritating things that I do, on and off: nail-biting, finger-chewing, hair-pulling. Like a bored budgerigar pulling its feathers out, I suppose. Largely these seem to be related to how happy, or at least diverted, I am. The answer would therefore appear to be to keep myself occupied; but I’d rather be doing that because I enjoy whatever it is that’s keeping me occupied than because it’ll keep my eyebrows intact.
One thing that has been of significance this year, however, has been finding and turning off the thing in my head that says uneaten food is wasted food: it is your duty to eat this. I am not entirely sure how I did this, but here are two things that helped:
– ordering a weekly veg box delivery, which stopped me having to shop when I was tired, hungry and cross, and cut out most of the ‘wandering glumly around the supermarket wondering what on earth to cook’ aspect of it. A supermarket contains all sorts of things I don’t want but will buy anyway, and then have to eat; the veg box engages my brain, challenges me, makes me find out what one can do with chicory or chard or celeriac (all the tricky ones seem to begin with C) and then do it.
– getting myself a money box, and, every time I had a piece of cake or leftover sandwich from the staff room, putting a quid in it. Every time there was cake or sandwich there that I didn’t have, I put 20p in. It seemed to work largely by making me more aware of what I was doing or not doing, by assigning a more obvious consequence to my actions; also, it was quite handy to have a ready stash of pound coins to go into birthday card whip-rounds.
The remaining contents of the money box went into the kitty at my leaving drinks.