Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Creatures of Habit

I am continually fascinated by how we all are truly victims of monotony. You see I don't think we aim to be, but it is just so easy and comfortable to do what we do everyday. The science gurus claim that it takes 2 weeks to make a habit, and if that is true I wonder how long it takes to break a habit- good or bad. I start to think about all the things I do daily and how they are programmed into me. I wake up, start my coffee(lots and lots of coffee), turn on the news, and the list of daily jen to do's continues. And why does it bother me so much when my routine is jostled just a smidge? Is it just me or do others depend on this routine and doesn't this memorandum of structure just make our lives void of all spontaneity?

All of these questions brought me to a fond memory of the summer I spent in Boston doing research at MGH. Each day I spent in Boston was a well mapped trip with no unexpected turns or stops. But perhaps the most interesting discovery I made that summer was that I was not the only one who was stuck in their own routine. Each morning as I scurried around the infamous "nunery" where my father had so graciously found living quarters for me, I would walk 45mins to work. I would never change my route but would delight in window shopping on Newbury and the daily tai chi-ers in the Public Garden. Yet, as I hit Charles St. my favorite street in Boston I would feel this bit of apprehension as I approached the eclectic boutiques and shops. You see everyday I would pass Panificio a local breakfast nook and bakery that had seating that overlooked the picturesque city street. Each day I worked in Boston I woke up at the same time, walked the same route, and each day passed the same man in the business suit drinking his coffee and reading the Boston Globe. I don't know what came over me each day, but I couldn't resist a coy smile and a wave. Every day it was just the same, he would smile back and raise his coffee mug as I scurried on my way to catch the bus.

I am not going to lie this 30 something man was alluring and mysterious. I would often make stories up about who he was and why he showed me his pearly whites every day. It wasn't until my last day in Boston I decided to make my monotonous walk a little more spontaneous. As I approached Panificio I decided to meet this mysterious man. I walked up to him and asked him if the seat next him was taken. An hour later we had discussed everything from our own daily routines to the beautiful city of Boston. He even invited me out on his boat later that evening, which I kindly declined. Although, I will never see my window waver again he showed me that we are all just creatures of habit going through the routine waiting for a chance for a change of scenery. I believe to often we let our daily routines dictate our lives and we resist opportunities for new experiences.

Thus, I encourage you this next week to spice up your life, let loose, and mix it up. Refuse to be a victim of a life that is just going through the motions. Instead you should resist and perhaps brush your teeth before you wash your face or take a different route to work --you might just find that you are a rebel instead of a creature of habit after all.

1 comment:

Koms said...

Sweet jehovah...charles street is really a gem of a place. I know perhaps chocolates are not your love, but there is this great place called beacon hill chocolates--they import their delights from belgium--MMMmmmmm so cute and so good. Panificio, i remember that place--let's move to Boston! I know what you are saying, my walk to work was the same street, same corner waiting for the bus every day and the same people--especially the fellow Whole Food's affecionados--i am sure we would have met each other every day there if you were in Boston as well and there too things were a routine. I had my favorite items and set ways of going around the store and creating my salad and even which cashier I would go to. But what I wanted to say is that I think it is really good that you put a little wrinkle in your routine by finding out the mystery of the man with morning coffee. CAKE!