V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #80: habit

“Be careful of the habits you make,” my father used to lecture, cigarette in one hand, whiskey in the other. “They will either make of you a slave or a master.”

Of course, I had no idea what he was talking about, and I hated that his sermons were always: “Do what I say, not what I do!”

Slave, master…such nonsense to a kid who just wanted to play and had no obligations.

I tried the bottle, and smoked just to spite him – neither habit stuck. I vowed not to be like him. Funny enough, that didn’t work out very well either. Luckily, Dad modelled some good habits too – always rose early, started with a good breakfast, kept physically fit, and had a stellar work ethic.

And he kept his personal struggles to himself.

“No need to take your bad mood out on everyone else,” he’d say as he strode out the door ready to take on the world.

He was a motivator of men, my father. People lined up at his funeral to tell me how he had changed their lives. I wasn’t sure they were talking about the same man that raised us with such a tyrannical fist. Obviously, my father’s habits helped him master the external, and reduced him to a slave in his private life.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my father’s words and questioning my habits – not just the easily detectable, but what lies behind them. Sure, I have a tendency to snack at bedtime, but why? How does this serve me? Am I eating because I’m really hungry? Seldom? Then what emotion/ need/ lacking am I stuffing back down?

This week, I invite you to join me in thinking about the habits that either enslave or empower your life. As always, interpret the challenge as you will.

To participate, create a post and then link back here, or drop the url to your post in the comments below. Look forward to your responses.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

34 thoughts on “V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #80: habit

  1. Unfortunately I will not be joining your challenge this week. You see, I have a habit of procrastinating. And overthinking what to write for challenges such as yours – which are wonderfully thought provoking and worth working on. But for some reason my habits of getting boring tasks done such as paying bills, answering emails, grocery shopping and that pesky laundry took priority. I also have a habit of doing one’s duty to others first. It is a habit I am working on. Along with the habit of making lists of what I should do…or need to do.
    So, my grand idea of writing about a habit I had in high school of doing 50 sit ups every night…and then the night I forgot and woke at 3am and jumped out of bed and did them in the dark. And why in heaven’s name I still remember that in great detail. I believe there’s a story there about habits – or something else, but it is only a seed not yet germinated.
    I will try to be back next week šŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would say this response qualifies as participation. You had me smiling all the way through. Is that a bit of frustration I read between the lines? Time for a break? The 50 push-ups story made me laugh out loud. What an illustration of determination. Take care, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder if your father’s actions are an indication that sometimes what we want the external world to see is different than we are, thereby leading to being a slave to those habits which bring us down. In some ways, it reminds me of my mother who felt that it was always so important to impress others rather than just be herself. She suffered in private with anxieties because of it. You’ve given me a lot to think about, VJ. šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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