Friday, September 12, 2014

How Habitual Are We?

You never really know someone until you live with them. And in all actuality, if you are even compatible to live together. I always thought moving in with a man would be easy, especially one that tended to be a neat-freak. When I was the one who didn't mind leaving dishes in the sink, or unopened mail fanned out on the entire counter (although this isn't the case anymore, how the tables have turned). But as your styles blend, so do your habits. Sometimes they clash more than they mesh and you have to learn to adapt. Other times you accept there are things you cannot change, including the things that you yourself are guilty of doing. It is a complete life adjustment and like most things, takes time. It's always entertaining to look back and poke fun at the little quirks that make us who we are. Are we truly creatures of habit?

For this post, I am trying to keep in mind the dictionary definition of a habit. "An acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. Customary practice or use."

A few of mine for example, some of which I have hinted at before. I am not particularly proud of these and admit that I am mildly compulsive. One - I absolutely HAVE to lock the door as soon as I step foot in the apartment. God forbid someone breaks in the building for that split second and I can save myself from getting robbed! I mean get real, I know in my head it won't happen. But the locked door always wins this battle. Two - I like to have a cup of tea after dinner. For some reason, I like to leave my mugs just about anywhere, with the teabag still in and drying up long after the tea is gone. They sometimes miss the dishwasher being turned on and have to wait for the next run. Three - Hair, hair, and more hair. No matter what I do, there is always a stray strand that was missed and left behind, usually on the bathroom floor. Or by the sink. Or shower. I'm sure most women can relate that it is impossible to keep up with how much we shed. Four - I now have my own particular way to make the bed. Which pillows go where. And the crease I like to karate-chop into the middle of the decorative ones. These are only a few to name, the list could ramble on but I may start to embarrass myself.

Let's not forget about the men. My husband has his habits, too. And not to put him on the spot, as I'm sure he wouldn't be happy knowing I was divulging all of his patterns. I'll just share a few that are light-hearted and non-humiliating. One - he looks in the fridge right before he leaves the apartment and right before he goes to bed. Nothing is changing and no new food is appearing, yet he likes to take a look at what's there (and possibly have a snack). Two - Even when he's watching one of his favorite shows or sporting events, he still needs to see what else is on TV by clicking the guide button and scrolling during commercials. Which always makes me worried we'll miss part of the show! Three - Leaving shoes just about anywhere. More than likely in the exact spots where they came off. And don't get moved until usually someone (me) picks them up. Or perhaps we have a shoe fairy?

Although most of the habits I listed above are the silly things we notice in the day to day, there are also good patterns so important to our routine. Things like never going to bed angry, saying "I love you every night" before we go to sleep, and giving each other a kiss before leaving for work in the morning. Habits don't have to be about cleaning, chores, and tangible items. The way we treat our significant others and our emotional demeanor can speak leaps and bounds. Habits can be characteristics and qualities that we possess that make us who we are. Like patience, kindness, and compassion. And if there are little things you and your man could live without (like that drawer that always seems to be open), you could always work at breaking the pattern. As long as you're both willing!

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