Monday, March 24, 2008

Creatures of habit

Now I am not one to initiate a conversation about wired habits… I am not even one to mock those that have more of the extreme ones. Notice I say more of the extreme; I do this only because we all have them in some way or another, but that isn’t what I am writing about. I am digging more for the weird ones, and the ones that we all do subconsciously. Again, I know better than to throw rocks, especially since my house is not just made with glass, it is made with non tempered glass… the type of glass that shatters and explodes all over the place, the kind that can impale… remember ghost and the window scene… “Shiver”, yikes. I digress, on with the post.

How many of you out can remember a time when you felt inclined to do something, only because it was something you do every time you face that particular situation. For example, a good habit or tendency would be to buckle your seat belt every time you get in a car. This unfortunately is not one of my own. This is a great habit that just about everyone that rides or drives in a car does. I have noticed people buckle up, without thinking of course, even when the car is not going anywhere. Another good habit would be switching off a light when you leave a room. Now I know I said that I was not going to talk about the common habits, but bear with me here, I am illustrating a point. We all are, to a degree, “creatures of habit”. I feel we all have the tendency to do what we feel comfortable doing regardless if it makes logical sense or not. Take online banking, I still know some people today that still get their paycheck, in the form of a check. They take the check to the bank, wait in line, waste the gas, and then get a receipt… confirming their transaction. These people like to pay bills with checks, then they go and mail the payment, and they can only mail it in a certified post office mail box… you know the ones… they are blue with the flying eagle. Now this particular example is not one of my own, my stories come latter, I do however feel the need to balance my check book twice, I have money management software, and yet I still keep a physical check log in my check book, which rarely gets used.

These habits are everywhere, I see the smokers in the office building where I work go out at the same time everyday. I think humans find comfort and security in redundancy, knowing that they will do the same thing over and over again gives one a sense of comfort and control. The real trick here is maintaining a healthy balance between habit, and compulsion. Some people just don’t want to change, some people can’t, and others choose not to. As mentioned above, smokers go out at the same time everyday, not only is going out at the same time a habit, but the smoking is another form of addiction that brings the comfort described above.That is the compulsive state that I define as not being healthy, along with the action. One compulsion that seems to always fall under the wire as being unhealthy is overeating. This has become an epidemic in the USA. What I find interesting is that smoking, drinking, and drug abuse are looked at by the general population as disgusting and wrong. Smokers are considered outcasts and are treated as such, and yet overeating has been widely excepted and looked at as a horrible debilitating disease that can not be helped, it is an industry that receives millions of dollars in research to find a cure... I seem to find it just as bad as smoking. It is addictive, it is something that costs the Health Care Industry billions of dollars each year, it causes similar forms of diseases, and much like everyone’s point of view towards smoking, overeating also is a choice, and can be stopped if the desire is there. On a side note, I am aware that this problem has received a lot more attention over the past couple of years, but it is treated with compassion, unlike the other addictions mentioned above. I also want to note that I am not referring to the average human being who could stand to loose a few pounds, I am referring to the obese and morbidly obese. (I honestly hope that I have given enough disclaimers to avoid some hateful emails...oh well) Changing the way we do things is hard; we all fight it to a certain degree. No one likes change; there is no stability in it. Breaking the cycle can be the hardest thing we face in life sometimes, but proving we can do it, also has its rewards.

As I mentioned, I want to discuss the extremes when it comes to being a creature of habit. I, myself, have some habits of my own that… well lets just say could be viewed as a little eccentric. I don’t feel the need to lock the door every time I go outside, even if it is for a minute, but I do feel the need to vacuum the floor when I have had a lot of company over… even if it is 2 in the morning. Anytime there is a spot on the kitchen floor, I wipe it up, why? By doing this I feel like it will prevent me from having to mop it. Cleanliness is next to godliness that is what I keep telling myself. I will just come out with it, I am a neat freak. (This drove me nuts one night)

Borderline compulsive. I can not stand chaos, disarray, or un-organization. I don’t know what it is, but I feel much calmer in an orderly environment instead of dwelling in a space where everything is strewn out on the floor. This is just one of my own weaknesses, and though I know it can be seen as weird, I have learned to embrace and laugh about it.

One of my other habits is to go off on tangents when I write, have ya noticed? I am not sure if this post will have much clout, or even scope, but it does feel good to get it all out into the open… that and realize that I am not the only one who is crazy. For further information about the more extreme characterized habits, mainly the Obsessive Compulsive Behavioral type, click link. OCD


The Brickman said...

Help me out here, Jonathan. I see the sign on the door; however; I can't tell from the drawing what she is doing. I can tell that once I know what she is doing, this will be the part of your great blog that I will like the best.
Uncle Dick the Brickman

Anonymous said...

Hello Uncle Dick, ok I was afraid that the picture might loose the details in the conversion. What the person has done/is doing is as follows:
They have taken all the chairs and formed a circle, then they created a fixed point in the center of the circle. From there, they are measuring the distance from the focal point to each chair, making sure they are all equal distances from the centre. I am assuming the radius is from the center is the same distance between each chair. The joke is that it is a support group for OCD sufferers, and that OCD people need continuity and that all things be in a specific order/organized. Make sense?

The Brickman said...

Thanks. With that explanation I can now actually tell that the small marks around the room are actually part of the joke and not random points.