Tag Archives: Habits

Not a Note on My Work Ethic, But on Old Habits

I logged on to my on-line course: Studies in Form: Postmodern Fiction. I’ve never been fond of Barthe or Pynchon, but this course filled the requirements for an elective, so I elected, kind of, to enroll.

But I have to go back a little. See, class started on Tuesday, and my books still hadn’t arrived. Story of my life: My books always arrive late. To get myself familiarized with a new course and  a new professor, I glazed over the syllabus. Mistake #1. Never, ever gloss over something that controls your life for the next few months.

I noticed that one story was available as a PDF download. Did I think to check if that story was for this week? Of course not! I decided to wait until my books arrived to really immerse myself in the course. Mistake #2.

This afternoon, Leda and I went to check the mail at my in-laws’ house. On the dresser, a big box from Amazon waited for me. I pulled back the tape, and the smell of paper and words greeted my nose like old friends. I sighed. I felt all set and ready to go.

Now, we can go back to were I left you off at the beginning. I’m all logged in, so I click on Course Content, located on the left-hand sidebar. I read the syllabus again, this time fully attentive, and discover I have a discussion board thread due today before 6:00 PM MST. My heart skipped. My spine chilled. I’d never read the book in time! I double-checked what book was scheduled, and lo and behold, there was no assigned reading from a book. We were asked to read “Lost in the Funhouse:” the PDF download.

My first reaction? Grab a frozen PB and J sandwich from the fridge and hunker down on the covers and bemoan my thoughtlessness. But what would that accomplish, besides making my keyboard keys sticky, adding unnecessary calories to my body, and making my assignment late? I mentally smacked myself, grabbed a bottle of water, laid down on the bed, and began reading. I was relieved when I saw it was a story I’d read before, which lessened the stress just a tad.

A few hours later, I copied and pasted my replies from Word into the discussion board and pressed reply. My assignment was in two hours before it was due.

Old habits die hard. My hands were nearly on the fridge door before I caught myself and asked, “What are you doing?” There’s no way to sugarcoat it: I was sabotaging my efforts. But I’m beginning to recognize when I’m about to mindlessly eat, and that’s another step in the right direction on this weight loss journey. And something else important: I cared enough not to get the sandwich. So many times before, I ate and soothed my personal Cricket by telling it food or the occasional mixed drink was the only thing that could help me feel better. But not today. Today, I learned what really got me feeling better was the sprint to get my assignment turned in on time. I learned I love myself enough not to give in to a food binge. The food high lasts a little while. A good grade a lifetime.

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