How many times have I started something, only to give it up three to six months later? And, to make things worse, like an amnesia survivor, I have absolutely no memory of why I stopped. I am only left with regret and a lingering annoyance with my seeming inability to “stick with something.” Does this happen to you?
Take yoga, for example. Armed with my cheery pink yoga mat and dressed in cozy yoga pants, I twisted, balanced, and held challenging poses with the best of them. I enjoyed it immensely and felt good after every class. One year later, I woke up and realized that at some point, I had stopped practicing yoga. What happened? How did that drop out? What changed? What is wrong with me?
Or, there was my commitment to start the day early. I loved it! Each day began easily before anyone in the house was stirring. I had plenty of time to check my emails before rousing the kids, making the lunches, delivering them to school and starting my work day. Fabulous! This would last forever, right? Wrong. I think that lasted for about seven and a half weeks.
So what is this about? Why are we unable to sustain new patterns, at times? Or, should the question be: Why do we feel we have to? In looking more deeply, I realize that I hope to stick with new patterns because I want to cross things off my list FOREVER. After all, wouldn’t it be great to cross the whole dirty business of Exercise off the list? Whether it is yoga, biking, jogging or aerobics, my deepest wish is that I would settle into something and be done – really done. I imagine people asking, “How do you stay so fit at age 92?” And I reply with pride, as I balance on one finger, “I have been practicing yoga for 50 years and I have never missed a day!”
But maybe that’s not how life is? Perhaps, we are dabblers at heart. Is it the variety that is interesting? We dabble in meditation, art, reading and organization. We learn a language and then we don’t practice it and forget. Last year I dabbled in healthy lunches for the kids. I bought a dozen books and learned to hide spinach in Jello and lentils in home-made cookies. Yum! I thought it would last forever (my children imagined this also, to their dismay). But, after a while, I just stopped. Like a jilted lover left with no explanation, my healthy lunch cookbooks lay disillusioned on the kitchen counter. Did I lose interest in keeping my kids healthy? No, but I lost interest in the process. It was time to move on and learn something new. It was time for me to dabble in something else.