Ode to habit and simplicity

I perceive the word habit as quite negative like something that repeats
with no enthusiasm. It’s often associated with routine that is usually ordinary and regular, nothing sparkling or exciting about it. I realized that I was unconsciously convinced that habit was something boring and somehow it’s a common belief. If you look up in the dictionary the first example states: “it can develop into a bad habit”, not a very positive connotation; some of the synonyms related to it are convention, norm, rule. As a result habit seems to be something ordinary “hard to give up”. It doesn’t sound really thrilling.

I started to imagine a life with no habits: doing everything for the first time and doing it just for once. I didn’t like it. It would be so ephemeral. Maybe it can be exciting at the beginning but then I imagine myself yearning for something that I know how to do. I would love to improve that aspect, learn more about it or do it again because I liked it so much.

So I simply concluded that habits are not boring because if we love what we do it’s unlikely to feel monotony. It’s on us to keep things stimulating.The problem may be our attitude towards routine. But if we like what we’re doing habit can turn into dedication and commitment and we can get closer to the essence of some aspects. If we apply the “here and now” philosophy to habits we may live them with greater joy. In order to perceive habits as fulfilling we should choose wisely our practices and if we make a mistake or feel bored be brave enough to change them.

Travel is my wont: I’m used to leaving and go back to the place where I grew up, I’m used to traveling to a new place or to one where I have already been. When I pack my luggage I include all those small habits that became a little part of who I am and take them with me. It’s not always easy and not everything is shiny but I feel that neither my present routine here in Córdoba (Argentina) nor my relationships are boring. When things are too ephemeral I live them already with  a nostalgia for the present. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that simple practices are the basis for our big endeavors.

The following is a poem from Jorge Luis Borges, an Argentine writer and poet:

Nostalgia del presente

En aquel preciso momento el hombre se dijo:
Qué no daría yo por la dicha
de estar a tu lado en Islandia
bajo el gran día inmóvil
y de compartir el ahora
como se comparte la música
o el sabor de una fruta.
En aquel preciso momento
el hombre estaba junto a ella en Islandia.

Nostalgia for the present

At that precise moment the man said to himself:
What would I not give for the joy
of being at your side in Iceland
in the great immobile day
and share this moment
as one shares music
or the taste of  a fruit.
At that precise moment
he was together with her in Iceland.


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