For years, my daily routine when I’m at home has been unvarying: when I get up in the morning, I take a brisk walk, on the same route, in the same direction, to get the blood pumping and the brain engaged. I did it rain or shine, hot or cold, without exceptions, with no ifs, ands, or buts.
When we lived in New Albany, my route took my around the Yantis Loop. When we moved to German Village, my course changed to circumnavigation of Schiller Park. But in either case, the early morning walk was a key component of the day, mixing inner compulsion, simple enjoyment, and a desire to be sure to get some exercise before plopping myself down behind my desk.
I would call my morning walk routine a “habit.”
But when we came to Maine recently and had to self-quarantine on the footprint of our cottage for two weeks, I was unable to take my morning walk. The first few days I got up early anyway, but in short order I realized that I there was no need to do so because I couldn’t take my walk, so I might as well roll over in bed and sleep a little longer. And that turned out to be pretty enjoyable, actually.
By the time the 14 days was over, I found that my routine had been shattered. On the first day after the quarantine ended, I took my walk, but on the second day it rained, and I decided I should just stay home, without really giving it much thought. But when I did think about it, I thought: “What the hell?”
So clearly, my long-standing habit has been broken to pieces and needs to be reestablished. I thought the saying was, “old habits die hard,” but that turns out to be totally wrong. Maybe it should be, “good habits die easily.”