More than half of the month of January sped past without my knowledge or consent. Okay, I knew it was in the process of slinking along, but I am stunned to look back at the speed with which the last eighteen days have flown by. If the rest of the year proceeds as quickly, I might have to force myself not to blink so I won’t miss it. My words suggest this matter of time speeding by is simple silliness. It’s not.
Somehow, I’ve allowed myself the useless indulgence of watching the world go by, rather than actively participating in its motion. Too much of my days are spent sitting in front of my computer or otherwise taking affirmative action to stay out of the fray of daily life. I am not insisting on participating in the process of living. Instead, I’ve been letting life simply happen to me. It’s not entirely about physical motion; it’s about mental engagement, as well.
Habits. Routines. Somewhere in the litter of synonyms for “habit” is the word, “weakness.” That’s what a bad habit is; a weakness that becomes a pattern of behavior. Smoking is a weakness. When I finally realized how much that weakness had damaged my physical health, I was able to quit. And only after I quit for quite some time did I realize how offensive that habit was to virtually everyone around me; the weakness made me stink and gave my skin an almost imperceptible coating that carried with it an awful stench. The same thing is true of other bad habits. The habit of avoiding physical activity, too, tends to leave one’s body more likely to exude odors like musty socks and moist, unwashed nether regions. If I want to smell fresher and look healthier, I need to give up my bad habits. All right, I may be making some of this up, but it’s for my own good. The smoking thing is true.
Back to the matter of time and its flight. I doubt if there’s much I can do to slow the passage of time. But I can improve the sensation of its passage and I can enhance the appeal of recalling what occurred while it was zipping by. Those improvements and enhancements cannot take place simply by changing one’s mindset and one’s habits. They require making physical changes…location, movement, standing versus sitting, walking, picking up the telephone instead of relying exclusively on the keyboard…those sorts of things.
Which reminds me of an odd preference of mine. I am not fond of talking on the telephone, at least with most people. With a very few people, I’m fine with long conversations by telephone. But with most people, no. I’d prefer to communicate in person or via email or text. I can’t put my finger on why that is; but it’s an extremely strong preference. So much so that I get cranky when forced by circumstance to speak to some people by phone. That’s probably a habit, a bad one. Some habits are simply quirks, like this bad one involving a dislike of telephone communication. I don’t think it has much to do with the person on the other end of the phone, either; it’s some sort of strange psychological trigger inside my head. Odd that this matter arises while writing about habits. It is a habit, I suppose. A negative one.
Time to shower and shave and head off to church. Sundays used to be so much more relaxing, before church took a claim to part of the day. I’m seriously going to have to explore the habit of going to church; it’s not that it’s a bad habit, but it’s a demanding one that may not be as valuable as I might have thought. Enough writing for this morning. Off to be active.