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A Letter To Nobody In Particular

Aren't we all creatures of habit?


To A Curious Friend,


I write to you from my desk this Sunday as I take a break from my homework (exciting news, I’m sure). I’m reading about social-political philosophy. It’s a funny contrast--how I’m trying to understand the questions on the page, but the only one I can ask is “Why is this such a drag?” I just can’t focus on John Rawl or David Hume… I sometimes read like I’m hearing without listening. Does that make sense?


I’m not saying I’m worried, though. I know it takes time to adjust after the summer… it happens every year. In many ways, being efficient with my schoolwork is just another habit. When I take a break from it, it’s difficult to start again. And, once I get going, I think I’ll never want to stop. I’m not sure if that happens to you. Does it?


Speaking of habits, the only one I’ve ever broken is biting my nails. Have I told you that? It’s interesting… I mean, consider it. How many habits do you actually have? And, from that number, how many do you want to break?


Anyway, I think I came out of the womb biting my nails. No, really. I did it for as long as I can remember, and tried everything to stop. I painted my nails with putrid polish, searched for distractions, got weekly manicures… but nothing worked. I was constantly embarrassed and frustrated. I hated everything about biting my nails--the way others saw it as “gross” and “unfeminine,” how it created an impression before I even got the chance to, that all my efforts were futile…


I wish I could tell you what I did to stop, but I’ve come to realize that it isn’t about the first step. Yes, the beginning is tough, but forming a new habit is even harder. You see, I gave up biting my nails when I let go of the polishes and the feelings I attached to it. The trick was ignoring the externalities. The more I stressed about the consequences of biting my nails, the more nervous I became and, thus, the more I turned to my habit. Back to square one.


But, once I could frame stopping my nail biting differently- as a replacement habit- quitting was easy. All it took was intention, and I fell into my new routine gracefully. As soon as my nails began growing, I loved their strength and how I could decorate them. They make me feel elegant-- I never want to ruin them again.


Now that I think about it, everything in our lives (yours and mine and everyone else’s) revolves around habits. The more frequently I work out, read, cook, or learn, the more I care to continue. I fall in love when it’s a habit, and out when it’s not. I guess I love the same way I make my bed. If I think about the same questions, subjects, or people each day, I create customs that feel endless. And, in the end, I arrive at a goal or fascination with no idea how I got there.


Enough rambling. Tell me everything! How are you feeling? What are you learning? What’s important to you right now? I miss you and your thoughtful words. As always, I can’t wait to see you.


All my love,

Jenna



(To send my letter, of course)

























4 comentarios


kudsue
01 sept 2022

You make my heart sing. I love your in depth descriptions of life’s good , bad and the ugly. Keep up the excellent work. Love it!!!

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rosannamweber71
31 ago 2022

You DID break your nail biting habit 👏🏻👏🏻. Sorry, I read that line too fast. Your nails are strong and beautiful like the rest of you. ❤️

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rosannamweber71
31 ago 2022

So are you back to biting your nails after a summer of manicures has ended ? You did say it was the one habit you have not quit. Well, you can get back on track next summer. We love you always.

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Carolina Pino
Carolina Pino
31 ago 2022

AH I love your rambling! Best homework break ever. Thank you for being so brilliant (and for sharing your brilliance) :)

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