For the first time since I got engaged, I am wearing a knotwork silver ring on my right little finger. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a momentous thing in the way it sounds – I mean, it’s been three years, now. No big thing, there. But it’s a habit I’d fallen out of, having given away a ring that really meant something to me. (And if I’d been wearing the head I am now, back then, I’d have known the whole affair was doomed when that guy’s backpack destroyed the ring, on the bus…)
This ring is not the one I’m going to wear on a permanent basis, it’s a stopgap. This is a piece of 4 quid tat that fits well enough. When I have the spare cash, I’ll pop along to a jewellers. But it’s got me thinking about habits, and the way we fall into and out of them. Patterns, and how we break them. The need for stability and order. But more importantly, then need to stop and reassess every so often, and the number of things we think are important or significant when they’re only really patterns of thought and unquestioned habit.
Another thought: what is social conditioning, but unquestioned habit? What is the desire to conform, be “normal” but unquestioned habit?
Yeah, it sounds a bit teenage, I know. But I’m not talking about just being different for the sake of it, or breaking a thought pattern so I can sneer at the “herd” and declare myself “better” than them. I know that social conditioning has value and that conformity isn’t a bad thing. But still, it makes me wonder about how may of my habits and thought patterns are useless – what should I jetison? Which leads me on to another point, which I’ll try and get back to later…