end or beginning?
Sometimes an end is a beginning.
Sometimes a beginning is an end.
I've moved on.
You can click, or you can wait.
Either way, come join me, won't you?
October 9, 2004 | Permalink
Breaking the Habit
52 days since I last had an internet connection at home.
52 days since I moved the main bulk of my stuff out of the flat in which I'd lived for 310 days, with someone who I'd spent the majority of the previous 2,914 days of my life with.
I read somewhere, once, that it takes 8 weeks to form a habit, and by extension, 8 weeks to break one.
4 days short of a new habit, or possibly, the loss of an old one.
I'm not so convinced about this habit thing.
I mean, there are different levels of habits. There are the little things, like folding empty food wrappers lengthways into a ribbon, and then knotting it, or always putting the toilet paper roll on the holder with the sheet hanging forwards. Surely these little things take less time to change than the big stuff?
2,914 days is 56 times 52.
That's a lot of habit forming time, but not nearly as long as the 10,263 days I've been alive for, so far.
The origin of certain habits has occupied my thoughts, to a greater or lesser degree, for quite a while now.
Some of them have been easier to identify than others.
Simple cause and effect.
This equals that.
I tap the top of drinks cans before opening them because someone once told me that if you tapped the top before popping the tab it wouldn't explode all over you. It seemed to work, so I kept doing it. Logically, I know it's nonsense, and that if I'd shaken a can, tapping the top of it wouldn't stop it from emptying its contents all over me (and, doubtless, everyone around me).
Other stuff isn't so easy to pin down, and that's the stuff I most want to figure out.
I have a burning need to understand myself.
I need to know why I do what I do, so that I can decide which habits I want to keep, change, break or make.
Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
I want a different result.
In the distance the majestic towers of Canary Wharf rise through the morning haze, glinting in the weak sunlight, and I slow my pace, resisting the urge I always get to run down the slope.
It's that kind of slope. The kind that I know will cause me trouble when it gets really wet, or icy, but for now, it's steep, and it makes me want to run and giggle as I go, like a small child that has no sense of the consequences of going too fast, or landing in a crumpled heap when the braking systems inevitably fail.
It's a beautiful autumn morning. Warm enough that I don't have to wear a coat or cardigan, but crisp enough to make me feel alive.
I've made it from my door to the train station in 6 minutes, without running, and with 2 minutes to spare.
The train pulls in, a minute late, and stops in just the right place so that a door opens right in front of me. I step up onto the train and for the first time this week, I'm not wedged into someone else's armpit.
North London suburbs pass by outside the window, and I smile as the train that carried me home last night pulls into the maintenance depot.
It isn't my fault, it was fine when I left it.
At Finsbury Park we slow, and the unholy spawn of Jamie Oliver and Thom Yorke appears at my side, throat swaddled in a huge woolly scarf, tucked into his moss-green pinstripe jacket.
We get off the train and he nips in front of me to dash down the stairs. I consider tripping him, but notice that he's wearing too-big flip-flops and decide it's just too easy a target.
As we race down the spiral staircase, I'm careful to stay a step or so behind, giving myself space to leap over his sprawled body, just in case.
When I reach the platform, a train is there - doors open - waiting for me. I leap on, mindful of the inevitable beeping which will surely start as I approach, and sit down, ample space around me, and pick up a copy of the Metro, thoughtfully discarded by a previous passenger.
At the other end, both up escalators are working, and I feel spoiled for choice.
Weaving through the throng of fellow passengers, I make it to the stairs, and up, out of the station into the noise and bustle that is central London in the morning.
I get to work, exactly 29 minutes after closing my front door.
It's Friday, and no matter what else is going on, the UK is a better place today.