My New Habit

They say that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit. And, I’m pretty sure that this is the case — at least for me. Over the years, I’ve developed lots of habits — some have stuck, others have not. For some reason, physical habits such as running, and working out are the ones that I’ve managed to hold on to, while others, such as sticking to reading just one book and writing on a consistent basis have not. I find that it’s easier to challenge my body, rather than my brain, every single day. I guess I am just one of those weird people who you do see in the gym past February, but my URLs and blogs just continue to gather dust over the days, months and years. However, something switched in me after Piccadilly, our dear cat and companion, died at the end of October. I felt lost and somewhat alone (he was always such a comforting fixture around the house) in the days after he passed. So distraught, in fact, that I found myself just wanting to sit down and write. However, other events such as Halloween, Clara’s birthday and the holidays started pulling me away from this undeniable draw I felt to writing.

One morning, I couldn’t deny my desire to write any longer. I took to the Internets to find a way to hold myself accountable for a passion that I’ve had since I was Clara’s age (she’s now 9). I found a website called 750words.com where members write at least 750 word entries every day. This community of members — now 4,168 strong — makes the time everyday to write. There are even monthly writing challenges — I’m participating in the January challenge. Your entries don’t have to be fancy — misspellings, punctuation errors and grammatical mistakes are all encouraged, in fact. So four weeks ago (that’s 28 days!),750words I submitted my first private entry. And, I have to say that this whole experience has been such a blessing for me. Some days, I just ranted about holiday stress. Some entries have really been just long, drawn-out To Do lists. Other entries are filled with sad/mad/glad thoughts and feelings. It usually takes me anywhere between 12 to 15 minutes (depending on how much coffee I’ve had!) to complete my 750 or more words, but when I’m done, I feel like a weight has been lifted. Like my daily physical workouts, this new mindful exercise has helped me to become a stronger person. I feel happier and much more prepared to take on the day after I get those 750 words out of my brain and out into virtual space. I think part of the reason that I’ve been able to stick with this new habit is because (like weight lifting), I’m starting to see results. So many positive results, in fact, that I’ve decided I actually can take the time to dust off the cobwebs and get a blog back up and running. Most people who know me know that I have a lot to say, so what better place to ramble than online? Besides, I am dying to get my book project off the ground and could use the writing practice. 🙂

So, there you have it. In lieu of scrolling Facebook and Instagram, I spend my morning coffee break writing. A lot of what I have written has been private and reflective. I am a middle-aged mom of two trying to figure out who I am and what I want to be when I grow up. I think I grapple with a lot of the same things that other women my age do — the challenges that accompany child-rearing and the guilt that I feel over wanting to do more things for myself now that my children are of school age and are learning to become their own people. In a world where women are supposed to do it all (with a smile on their face to boot), I admit that I have my faults, my weaknesses and my mom-ents. Today’s was when I realized that Elyse had gone off to school without making sure she had eaten her breakfast. (She didn’t, btw). I was too busy trying to deal with the repair men who came without warning and totally threw me off my game. You know, those things that happen every day and make you feel like you are the outright recipient of the World’s Worst Parent Award. Serenity now, serenity now…

All joking aside, I am so grateful to have found just 15 minutes of my day to participate in another mindful activity — and one that has brought me so much joy. Now, the real question becomes, do I have enough wit in these 750 word entries to hold a captive audience? That is for you to decide. If you’re interested in seeing where these entries take me, come back for another edition (this one topped out at 827 words)…

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