Photo by Kamil S on Unsplash

Habits Versus Spontaneity

Recently, my partner and I decided to play Mario Kart on his really cute mini Super Nintento system. This was the day after I broke the wireless controller (heh) so we moved the couch to be about three feet away from the enormous television in our living room — I had to use the one with a cord this time.

Lately, I have been at odds with my sleep schedule. My goal is to be in bed at 10:30, and to have my lights out at 11, so I can be awake by 7:00. Anyone who knew me in high school or college or, well, ever, would probably laugh audibly reading that sentence but I’ve been working at it, and when I do it my whole body feels better. I feel less nauseous and anxious in the morning, I have plenty of Me Time to drink coffee, journal, read, and dog walk before work starts (the trifecta+1 for me to have a perfect day because what word do you use for four perfect things??), and I overall get the intense pleasure of feeling like a regular human being.

Okay, so back to Mario Kart. Video games are… video games… that is, designed to compel you to play until the pads of your fingers develop callouses and you’re proud of the number that flashes for all of three seconds before that game disappears into nothingness. On top of that reason to not play, it’s really rare for me to indulge my partner in letting him know that there are some video games I genuinely like.

Namely, Mario Kart and Tetris. Also Dance Dance Revolution. We only own one of these.

I have worked pretty deliberately, and yet in my subconscious (both, yes, I’m a gemini, I make no sense) to create a lifestyle that eliminates things that make me feel shitty, either physically or via guilt. One of those things is video games and television in general. I was raised to be one of those holier-than-thou types that would pride myself in never owning a TV and deciding never to learn to play a video game.

But then I met my partner, and loved him, and chose to live in the same home as him. We have not one but two televisions in our house, both enormous and with a significant cable bill and one hundred subscriptions to everything on earth so we can Always Be Entertained.

So I worked hard at turning my nose up, proving how many books I can read (23 so far this year, because obviously I have to track them in an app), and rolling my eyes every time he went on a 3 hour binge of playing Madden.

Okay, what’s the point?

The point is, my friends, that habit tracking and being left brained and perfection-obsessed and dedicated to paper over screens (aside, of course, from six hours a day on Instagram because obviously) — so all of these things I pride myself on, whoooo fucking cares?

I got a nice little butterfly of glee writing that out.

Like seriously, who cares?

So with that sentiment, we pushed the couch to the center of the room, so I could use the corded controller to swing Donkey Kong around the Mario Kart course as many times as it took to not come in 8th.

And also: it was fun.

And also: I drank pink wine (forever in honor of my mother) and ate ice cream while doing it.

And also: it was fun!

So we stayed up until midnight or one or somewhere in the middle, and I still brushed my teeth and read my book (Commonwealth is my most recent, finished this morning, loved it) and went to sleep. And I woke up a lot later than seven. And I started my work day less spunky and less effective. And I had four or five or six boxes in my habit tracker that definitely did not get filled in on that day.

Then I drank my coffee and walked my dog and got to work, and it was fine.

I guess this post isn’t a question or a competition at all. It’s not habits versus spontaneity, it’s habits alongside and in tandem with spontaneity, the age-old wisdom of the universe that says please balance your life.

Mostly the opposite of having my shit together. IG @okaycaroline

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