“Habit converts luxurious enjoyments into dull and daily necessities.” –Aldous Huxley
Uncle Normie and aunt Helen dined at the same restaurant every single night for years; my sister Shelley and her husband, Rusty, spent their anniversary weekend at the same hotel for a decade; my husband, David, wouldn’t stop using the same tailoring shop to make his custom sports jackets, even when a new owner took over who did dreadful work, and my former mother-in-law, Gerry, wore her hair in exactly the same style (pulled off her face in a bun at the nape of neck) her entire adult life.
I love traditions, but habits can be, well, habit forming. Traditions are warm, reassuring, comfortable and usually loving. I get it that change can be disquieting, filled with anxiety and maybe even paralyzing. But breaking habits–even those that aren’t toxic, like smoking and drinking four martinis every night–can be refreshing, releasing and rewarding.
“Where are you going on vacation this summer?” I asked the handsome young man from Zurich who was applying permanent makeup to my lips and eyes.
“To Calabria, Italy, and Monaco,” he replied. “We go to the same places every year.”
“Where do you stay?”
“At different hotels every time we go. We research places we think we’ll like and if we don’t like them when we get there, we leave and go somewhere else.” His philosophy? Variety is the spice of life. “If we love a hotel, we think we could love another one even more,” he told me. What a cool attitude.
I’m proud of myself for kicking some pretty bad habits (inhaling two packs plus of cigarettes a day, for example) and I’d like to kick some more (eating the icing off cupcakes in the middle of the night). But like my friend from Zurich, I try not to make a habit of too many habits, even nice habits.