Habit

Habit, though it has the unfavourable distinction of mediocrity and bland repetition, is for me nonetheless the much needed balance of my epicurean and hedonistic lifestyle. I find it permits me by its strict and seemingly unimaginative constraint to avoid what is otherwise often regrettable behaviour. Habit is an uncompromising commitment by any account. By my personal definition habit expresses the benefit of what is as well frequently the accumulation of years of sometimes punishing and loathsome experimentation. This is in spite of whatever cheerful or bawdy anecdotes may subsequently emerge. I am a confessed visceral person, one who submits readily to the allure of his instincts, passions and appetites. These are often perilous credentials. The examples of abuse are too numerous to mention, the most common among them being anything drinkable or digestible. And while I am able to argue my way out of material expense, I must nonetheless admit to often woeful accumulation and superfluity.

Whether the habit is internal or external, it is for me primarily restrictive. It is by modest distinction a philosophic guide, certainly an intellectual pursuit which governs the lower and internal organs. Though I don’t recollect habit insinuating any theory of spartanism, simplicity or frugality, for me habit has always been the mechanic by which I subdue my immediate urges.  It is thus a potentially tarsome pursuit.  But more often than not I live to complement the triumph.  The effect of habit is by certain measure an excess of its own, yet less colourful and less rich without the ingredients of storytelling.

In ancient times, the Greek city-state of Sparta had a reputation for the severe and highly disciplined way of life it enforced among its citizens, so as to keep them ready for war at any time. Physical training was required for both men and women. A boy would begin his military training at 7 and would live in army barracks for much of his life, even after he was married. Today, when a cargo ship or a remote beach resort offers “spartan accommodations”, some tourists jump at the chance for a refreshing change from the luxuries they’ve been used to.

There is a downside to habit.  It doesn’t work for everyone the same way. It may inaccurately confine one’s thinking by strength of its historic advantages to undeveloped beliefs. The adage of doing something only because you’ve always done so reflects the danger of routine which has been stylized with the richness of tradition while unwittingly perpetuating mere quirks or foibles. The only relieving or accommodating engagement of fixation is the avoidance of addiction.

Paradoxically the notable conflict with habit is indeed addiction, a misfortune having in some instances the opposite advantage to what I seek. Yet there are those who advance the sybaritic and fast-living lifestyle at any cost for their own metaphysical reasons.

Overindulgence – way too much as well as weigh too much. But, life is short. Eat dessert first! Donna McD

If one were to reflect even for a moment upon those no longer whinnying among us it is difficult not to accept the recommendation to enjoy life at any cost.  Such is the quip, “What are you saving it for – the funeral!” Nor can I argue the point. There may further be the inadavertent improvement of colouring life by affording comparison and thus avoiding lapsing into a misleading and less adventurous trait.

In the end no one of us has the recipe for the ideal way to do things. It may be that we must rely only upon our own speculations. While obviously I have been influenced by the notable sagacity of others, I must similarly observe that I have retreated ultimately to my own instruction whatever it may be.  This  may be only a reflection of my limitation; or it may expose the mandate of one’s internal mechanism. Whether these truisms will be repeated either before or after my funeral is irrelevant.  I shall for the time being content myself to have expressed my thoughts.  And now if you’ll forgive me I shall retreat to the bicycle stand for a moment of impassioned though unremarkable exercise at Lands End.  It is another brilliantly sunny day on Hilton Head Island bordering the blue North Atlantic Ocean.