Unfamiliar Things

Wendy's graduation

At what point does the unfamiliar and new become common? I’m sitting here, trying to learn to use my mouse with my left hand, and this question occurs to me. My motivation is simple — I’ve done something to irritate either the ligaments or nerves of my right hand, and the pain is excruciating. The more I use my mouse or type on my phone, the worse it seems to get. And so I’m learning to mouse as a leftie, in the hopes that some rest for my right will alleviate the problem.

My mom likes to remind me that I wasn’t always a neat freak, and that I was actually quite messy in high school. Per seems incredulous that there would ever have been a time where the least little item out of place didn’t drive me batshit. It’s become a bit of an obsession, I admit…I like knowing that there’s a sense of order to the world, and that what I put down stays precisely in that location. And I know where that particular obsession started: in college, my Sophomore year, Rana and I lived together in a single room, about 10 x 14 sft, with a single bed and one dresser. I moved into his space, and was his guest, and sometimes an imposition. I never felt my position was secure, so I learned to clean and organize and make my stuff small. Thus a neat freak was born.

I’ve had a bunch of new habits to learn over the past couple of years, and many new habits will form in the coming months. As I work to break some unhealthy habits and replace them with new ones, it’s challenging. It requires work and focus, in order not to snap back into my original state. New habits require concentration and commitment…and it’s better when you have something like an aching hand to remind you why you’re trying.

I guess it’s evolution, that Darwinian process that screens out the dedicated and focused from everyone else.

Here’s to standing at the top of the pyramid and reaching that self-actualization. Maybe, just maybe, that could become a habit too.


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