Meandering

Meandering Monday about the Habits That You’re Used To

We humans are creatures of habit.

Habits are patterns we develop that help us navigate our environment (at least the good ones are.) Our brains are taxed by having to make constant decisions, so we establish behaviors that keep us from having to think – we operate on autopilot in regards to what’s stable around us, so we can focus on what’s changed.

Habits also set us in our ways, and if circumstances change, a good habit can become a bad one. Running out your front door to circle neighborhood every morning can be good for your health – until they build a highway in front of your house, and then that same habit could get you killed. You need to

We become used to how things are, on having surroundings that don’t change. We need stable background so we can function. If you move into a house by a waterfall, it seems strange at first. Burt after a few weeks, you may find that you adjust to the constance of that sound – it’s now your new normal, and its absence can become just as distracting as living by that waterfall was at first.

Covid-19 has laid a lot of new habits on us. Things like not seeing other people’s faces in public. It still feels unsettling to me to only see the eyes of the people I encounter on my rare expeditions outside my box. Those eyes always look fearful to me – maybe I will someday learn to judge people without seeing the rest of their face, but it hasn’t happened yet (or maybe I’m right, and they’re all afraid; how would I know?)

In the early days of the lockdowns, I had to focus extra hard on my driving – I was actually distracted by how FEW cars were on the road, and often caught myself looking around skittishly, wondering when one of those hidden drivers was going to hit me. Here lately, with more people venturing out, I’ve had to relearn what it’s like to deal with NORMAL traffic.

I only go to grocery stores once a week, during certain, specially designated hours. It requires more concentration and planning than my grocery shopping used to entail, when I could run to the store ANY TIME I WANTED.

One day, all this will all be behind us, and we will have a chance to return to life as we USED TO know it. Your Covid habits will try to block you from behaving the way you used to. It will feel disorienting to see people’s mouths in public, and will sound even stranger to be able to understand what they’re saying (without masks to garble things up.)

I can already see the anxiety creeping into your eyes at the thought of that brave new world as you read this. You wonder if you’ll have the courage to cope with a return to the way things used to be.

Don’t resist that return.

Remember how much better things used to be, before the China Virus was unleashed on the world. Don’t cling to your newer habits – those that accepted lockdowns and hidden faces as the new normal.

Old habits die hard – with a little effort, and some luck, we’ll revive them.

Just saying…

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