Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 7, 2016

We're creatures of habit

By Brooks Taylor

By BROOKS TAYLOR

Mt. Pleasant News

Often times, we don’t even think about how our daily lives are so repetitive and unfortunately, the older you become the deeper the patterns become.

How many of you set your alarm for the same exact time during the work week? How many of you drive the same exact route to and from work? How many of you eat supper at the same time each night? The questions are endless but surely you get my drift.

During a former life, I worked with a lady who shared a love of sports with her husband. He played football in high school and the gridiron obviously was his first love. The couple watched their children in high school and then it was the grandchildren. The husband, however, insisted that they arrive at the football game 45 minutes early so they could sit in the same spot on the 50-yard line.

They weren’t the only ones bound by habit. While taking photos at a basketball game, there are plenty of opportunities to survey the crowd. Standing on the baseline, you have a great view of the audience. Having photographed the same school for many seasons, I could not only tell who was at the game, but also who wasn’t. It was easy because people sat in the same seats or the same general area every game.

Same goes for church. I have this thing that I have to sit on the left side of the pulpit toward the back. I always knew who was there and who skipped. One year at a Christmas Eve service, I was invited to sit with some friends. They were sitting on the other side of the aisle. I did join them but it felt so awkward because I was not in my usual place.

Then there are my former neighbors in northwest Iowa. They took the same weeks for vacation every year. One year the wife shouted at me as they were leaving — they were going to the Ozarks for the 14th straight year. I’ve been to the Ozarks and I like it, but I seriously doubt I would like it after 14 consecutive years.

I know a guy who lives by Mt. Pleasant who eats in the same restaurant at noon. I would be willing to bet he orders the same thing much of the time. I am sure the restaurant serves good food because if it didn’t he would have found a new dining place by now. But gosh, eating in the same restaurant every day reminds me of school lunches. No matter how much the cooks tried to vary and spice up the menu, after a while everything tasted the same.

There’s another man I see walking the streets daily — summer or winter. I mean long walks. I have seen him as far east as Hy-Vee and as far west as several blocks west of Iowa Wesleyan. He is generally carrying a Mt. Dew bottle with him. Again, it is my belief that he does not have much variance to his route. I have to give him credit though if you’re going to do things out of extreme habit, exercise is a great choice.

A couple I know a long time ago had a rather large family. All of the children went to college — the same college. Why? That’s where the parents met and they more or less make it an unwritten rule that if the children were going to college, they were going to walk the same campus as the parents had years before.

I believe some of our habits are hereditary. If our parents were successful at different things, we try to emulate them. And while we are trying to emulate them, we develop a few new habits of our own. Some of it is tradition, too, such as celebrating Christmas on Dec. 24 instead of Dec. 25. When growing up, my family spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at same location. I loved it, my aunt made the best pumpkin pie and I always was able to sleep on the way home while my dad loosened his belt, complaining that he had eaten too much.

Prior to the holidays, you see newspapers requesting stories about holiday traditions. Let’s get serious, they are really holiday habits.

Certainly some Mt. Pleasant residents have had to break some daily habits with the closure of a portion of Grand Avenue and the congested travel on East Washington Street. That’s good because they may discover a side of Mt. Pleasant they hadn’t observed for some time.

Variety, it is said, is the spice of live. If that’s true, we aren’t a very spicy lot.