Breaking Habits

Today, Governor Whitmer ordered all of us to “shelter in place.” Thank goodness I have a friend that is an “essential worker” who can go to work and buy toilet paper for me.

Staying home is interesting. I know that, eventually, Goodwill will have to re-open. With people dying, donations will increase. And with people being poorer than usual, second-hand goods will be in more demand than ever in my lifetime. It is all quite ghoulish. But that is eventually.

For now, all my normal habits are broken. And so are everyone else’s. What are people thinking about right now? We will not know until we see whatever it is that has massive pent-up demands when the quarantines are all over. I suspect that many people will divorce. Some people will go back to their old jobs, grateful to have them. Some will quit and go into other industries.

People have time to think, people that have been working two or three jobs and haven’t had time to string together two coherent thoughts in years.

I know I’ve told this story previously, but this is what I am talking about. I read an article a few years ago about a woman that desperately wanted a promotion. She tried repeatedly at her company with no success. So she decided to observe her company. What did all of the successful promotion-seekers have in common? They acted like they didn’t give a rat’s ass whether they got promoted or not. So she tried it. Successfully. She was thrilled beyond belief–for a few months. Then it hit her: Why on earth would she even want to work for a company that only promoted people that acted like they don’t give a damn? So she left the company. My point is simple, that you cannot think deeply about what you are doing without simultaneously examining why you are doing it.

Now multiply this story by the over 200 million adults stuck at home indefinitely. “Do I really want to still be married to this person this time next year?” “Wow, my job is meaningless.” “Huh. I sure am drinking a lot since the quarantine. Maybe I have a problem.” “Has that window always been loose?” When virtually all of one’s habits have been broken, even if involuntarily, an unprecedented level of clarity can happen to people. And like I said before, there is simply no possibility of examining what one is doing without simultaneously questioning the why. This is the hazard of mindfulness that corporations generally don’t comprehend. Consciousness spreads and nobody is in charge of where it goes. Advertisers try to control it, with an amazing degree of success.

However, people now have something they haven’t had, maybe ever–time on their hands.

Things are going to change. And we have no idea which way things will head.

About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

One response to “Breaking Habits”

  1. Ninasusan says :

    Yes! Things are def going to change. Post is very well articulated!! Few things will be the same in our heads!

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