On making (or not making) new habits

With this new-fangled job of mine and the new-fangled commute it entails, I find myself in the position of being a commuting blank slate. I do not yet have a clearly-established route. I don’t know the shortcuts or the lower-traffic streets or the fun little secrets or the best ways to avoid stop signs. I don’t know the cafes I can stop at on the way home or a place I can get groceries on the way if I need to supplement my lunch (Ha! Though I’d be way too early for a respectable grocery to be open anyway;). I don’t have a habitual outdoor space to chill if I don’t feel like biking home quite yet, or if I need some time listening to birds.

Basically, everything is open right now.

large-leaved lupine powell butte(which leaves plenty of room for exploration, like this post-work trek up Powell Butte:)

I’m not sure where this comes from, but I conceptualize habits as little tracks in my mind. The routes I take the most, the places I often go, get worn down deeper and deeper, each time I follow them deeper, huge ruts of tracks that are sometimes hard to get out of because the deeper I go the harder it is to remember that there are alternatives. And though some habits are helpful because they allow me to spend my brainpower on things other than, say, remembering to brush my teeth at night, I’m generally suspicious of habits at large. Suspicious that they turn me off to the world. Suspicious that they nudge me into forgetting about other ways of thinking or being. Suspicious that they blind me to things other than what I already expect.

So this is a particularly exciting time for me right now, where everything is new and open and fresh, where I haven’t yet worn down the mind-tracks of habit.

Granted, every day becomes a little bit more normal, and even though I make little tweaks and experiments each time, my baseline route is already sort of set. Maybe:) But I’m psyched about all the new things to be discovered and the feeling of laying a network of new tracks.

And I’m psyched about this new job:)

Bring it on.


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