Note to Self

We are all unique in terms of our habits. There are a lot of things that make us the same as other people — waking up every morning, going to school or work, having meals, meeting friends, going to bed and so on. But there are some habits that are just our own. Someone else might have the same habit but they still won’t do it the way you do it.

For me, a simple example is reading. I love reading. I try to read 50 books every year. I buy more books than I read. A few of my friends enjoy reading as much I do, but they find other kinds of books interesting and often they don’t have the same “reading goals” as I do. They might not learn the same things as I do from a lot of the novels that I read. Their reasons for reading also differ.

Some of us have a lot of hobbies. I can actually think of at least 7 things I can categorize as my hobbies — reading, listening to music, scrapbooking, collecting books, making posters of quotes, writing, to name the prominent ones. But just like in school we are taught the “core” concepts of every subject, there are some “core” concepts to a person too. And in our every day lives, these core concepts are so part of our busy routines that it is hard to identify them. It is really hard to see them, and know that they are what make us who we are.

Over the past few days, I have actually come to see my core self. I used to think that when I stop listening to music, it is sign that things are not quite right for me. Because I always listen to music. Which translates right now into two things: first, the things that you do irrespective of your mood are what define you. And second, music does not define my inner self.

Reading does.

Even if I have hours and hours of work, even if I get into bed at 2 am, even if I get home at 2 am, if I am carrying around a book with me (which I often do if I am out, and of course there is at least one at home), I will read it. No matter how tired I am. No matter what the time is. For another friend of mine, it is gaming. We believe and agree that loosing sleep because of gaming for her, and books for me is totally justified. We cannot live without it. They give us the strength to really call it a day and accept the fact that we are done for now.

It is easy to confuse routine with the hobbies that your core self has. But the truth is, we build our routines around the things that define us and make us happy. I don’t like the coffee that I make at home on weekdays and even if I must get up at 6.30 am to leave the house early (and hence get a ride), I will do it, just to get the large cup of good coffee and begin my day. It is not a core habit because it’s only for working days. But it is just an example of building my routine to incorporate it.

I have a quote on my wall that says “When I had nothing to lose, I had everything. When I stopped being who I am, I found myself.” I don’t remember where I got it from but definitely it is from a book. When I stop doing what I do everyday, what is left — the things I don’t even think of giving up — tells me who I am. That in spite of all the curve balls thrown at me, nothing can break some habits.

GREG RAKOZY NICK FEWINGS

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