Every week or so for the past six years, I have made up a big pot of mixed spices, nuts, fruit, and grains that Del and I eat as our morning breakfast. For the first four of those years I used a Teflon coated pot and a spoon that wouldn’t scratch the Teflon coating.
The spoon was the perfect height for the pot.
Two years ago, Del bought me a new pot, which I now use. It’s not Teflon and it is about six inches taller than the first one. However, I continued to use the same spoon, even though it meant I had to reach down into the pot to get the spoon.
Last week that spoon was dirty, so I picked up a long metal spoon, stuck it in the pot, and started stirring. It was the perfect spoon, perfect height, for that new pot.
It took me two years to stop using something that no longer worked for the situation, and switch to something that did. I was stuck in an unthinking habit.
On our last visit to my mom, we decided to watch a football game together. It meant that we couldn’t go to a movie that she wanted to see because she would miss the beginning of the game. No amount of persuasion would get her to agree to let Del record the game, so we could do both. Why? Because in her world, football should only be watched live – commercials and all.
I wanted to change her mind, but she was happy in her habit. I had to choose to change my idea about what I wanted her to want, which, in truth, I resisted mightily, so I wasn’t happy.