Creatures of Habit


I don’t know why he likes that side of the loveseat better, but he does, and he gets rather annoyed when it’s being occupied by anyone but him. If the other side is open, he’ll lie there and sigh deeply, letting you know that he’s making a sacrifice for you. If both humans are sitting there, then you’re in for it. He’ll hop up in the middle and then spread out as wide as he can, leaning heavily on the person on the left. To the untrained eye, it looks like a plea for affection, but in reality, it’s a land grab. You can’t read, never mind type. Dewey will not be denied.

We’re all creatures of habit. Look at where you sit at lunch, in meetings, heck, even at the dinner table. My father always sat at the end of the table in what we called the Chairman’s Chair as he was the chair of his HS English department at the time. My mother sat next to him, and we kids filled in the remaining spots. While my mother was closest to the stove in case anyone wanted seconds, there really wasn’t any reason why my brothers had to sit with their backs to the windows or for my sister and I to be at the other end of the table from my dad. But it’s what we did for years without question.

How many other things do we do daily without question merely because they’re habits? I frequently find that my cellphone has died because I haven’t gotten in the habit of plugging it in everyday. I can also go a day or two without using it which explains why I’m so forgetful about charging it in the first place. This is definitely a habit that needs attention. In comparison, I start everyday with a cup of coffee on that loveseat, but this is a conscious choice. I love the taste of it. I love the coziness of the couch. I love the critters piling on between my husband and me.

At school I make many deliberate decisions. I value pleasure reading by sharing my own reading with my students, by figuring it heavily in my grades as well as by investing a lot of money in my classroom library. I honor the effort it takes to write well by counting the process as much as the product  in my grading and by unveiling the morass that is my writing until several drafts in. On the other hand, I don’t consciously choose to let my filings of articles, etc. stack up. They just do. Today after school they will have my undivided attention, and I’ll pledge to stay on top of it in the future, but I probably won’t. It’s hard to break bad habits of almost thirty years.

Today is our last day of The Slice of Life Challenge, something many of us have been looking forward to for a while now. Writing is hard work. Writing well is even harder. We’ve put aside other endeavors to live up to our word and to blog daily. In my case, I took this on because I’d been having a hard time finding the energy to meet my weekly blogging commitment on the blog I write, Third and Rosedale, with two Writing Project friends. I’d hoped my participation and its emphasis on writing about anything from our lives would free me to write joyfully again. And it did. I hoped to find some great posts to read and new folks to follow. I did and I have. I hoped to write well enough that it will gain us some new readers. Only time will tell.

Writing about the mundane aspects of my life has been more than fun. It’s fed my thinking about school too. Last week, I was discussing the nearing completion of the Challenge with some colleagues and the fact that Heinemann is starting its One Hundred Words for One Hundred Days soon. Someone asked if I was going to take that on. My response. “Hell, no.” A friend wondered if I wanted to reconsider now that I’d made it thus far. “Don’t you find it much easier to find topics to write about now that you’re writing all of the time?” As someone who blogs daily, she knew the answer to the question. “Yes.”

So while I may not throw my hat in the ring for another blogging “competition” in the near future, for these reasons I’ll write more frequently than once a week and will post Slices on Tuesdays. That’s a habit I’m willing to embrace. How about you?

Published in: on March 30, 2014 at 11:32 pm  Comments (4)  

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Loved the direction this post took. I started out laughing because I have a black lab that has specific rules about who sits where on the couch (and the bed too, but that’s another story!). But then you went a whole different direction and I found myself nodding in agreement so many times. I’ve done the March slicing challenge for three or four years and usually post, not sure why but this has been the hardest year for me. I’m trying to decide whether I can take on an April poetry challenge. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts this month and hope you will keep writing at least some Tuesdays, if not every Tuesday.

  2. I enjoyed your post. Got me thinking about my own habits. Hope to see you back here on Tuesdays!

  3. I haven’t had dogs for a while, so I have truly enjoyed every slice I’ve read that is about a dog. Gives me the opportunity to live vicariously through others, and to remember my cute puppies. It was a nice way to start this post. We certainly are creatures of habit. I am exactly with you on my willingness to commit. It is so much easier to find things to write about. At the beginning, I would start two or three posts before I got something that I would submit. But I am even hesitant to commit to every Tuesday. This has been good for me, though, so I’m in.

  4. Fiona gets the left side of the couch, Lucy gets the right, and I get the middle. I love this post, connecting something as concrete and mundane as where your dog sleeps on the sofa, to the habit of writing. This was my first year doing the Challenge. There was a pint when I thought I might not do it next year, but I moved past that. Next year, my goal is to comment more. That’s a habit I need to work on.

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