Saturday, February 4, 2012

habits

I just read this from an email I get once a month and it really struck a chord - how about you?
Quilt University February Newsletter Vol 2.1
Way back in the mists of time when I was about 18, I brought a friend home for dinner. My dad passed her something (who remembers what it was) and she refused, saying “I didn’t like it the first time I tried it, and I never will.” That became a joke around our house, a laugh at a person who was stuck in her ways.
It is harder to laugh now. I realize how many things I do or say automatically. What brought this forcefully to mind was a pair of snips that a Japanese friend gave me in 1993 when she was teaching me sashiko. I tried to use them when she was here, but I didn’t like them. I wanted to stick my fingers in a pair of scissors the way I always had.
Ten years later, I lost my favorite pair of thread scissors and the extra pair was just too dull to cut thread cleanly anymore. Rummaging through my drawer, I came upon those snips and thought, well, why not? Maybe I can save myself a trip to the store. Yes, I do actually think that - sometimes. Guess what? I really liked them. They were perfect to leave under the edge of my sewing machine, to pick up and snip the threads between chain piecing or to clean the edge of the thread before threading the needle.
It made me wonder how many other things I might feel differently about, things I dismissed years ago and have never gone back to. After all, I am not the same person I was a decade ago. Funny, isn’t it? We go a long time thinking we are the same as when we were younger. Oh, we know our outer shell has changed. We get forced into admitting that every time we brush our teeth and have to look in the mirror. But inside, we think we are the same. Looking backwards, we project our current selves into the memories of that young person we were and are sure that we have always been that way.
Yeah, sure. Remember the first time you heard your parents' words come out of your mouth when you were talking to your children? Have you ever referred to today's music as "that noise the young people call music"? Imagine saying that at 20 and you will get my point.
It is so easy to do things out of habit. The longer you do them, the harder it is to change. That rut gets pretty deep. I know I won't climb all the way out. After all, a lot of activities got to be habits because I enjoyed them. Still, the rut can get pretty boring and I'm hoping there is a lot more life to live. I might learn to program my phone or figure out the satellite radio that came in my car.
Serendipity sometimes plays a part in deciding what I might try next. First, I found a recipe for Posole (a Mexican soup) in a magazine. The picture looked appetizing but it called for hominy, which I had never eaten. I've heard of it, of course, but didn’t know what it was. Stop laughing. This was not grits, but whole hominy. Coincidentally, the very next time I was in the grocery store, I saw a can of it. The picture looked like corn. What could I lose, right? I looked it up online and discovered hominy is dried corn kernels.
The very next day we went to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants for lunch and what should be on the specials menu but Posole. For $4, I could find out if I liked it before spending time making a big pot. Not being a fool, I also ordered quesadillas. Roger and I both tried it. It looked pretty. It tasted like watery nothing. Once home, I really stepped outside my normal behavior. I didn’t pretend I was going to use the hominy at some time in the future - and threw it directly into the trash.
Who knows what other discoveries I will make?

2 comments:

Lynne said...

Thanks for the reminder - we all need it! :-)

catsmum said...

yeah - what Lynne said!
plus now i know what Homminy is LOL