In the arms of habit

A grove of trees in autumn by Peter Aschoff

Dash to the station. Dodge around the tourists and dawdlers. Take the steps two at a time. Stand close to the line as the train pulls in, sending a text at the same time. Hang on while scrolling through tweets.

This was how my commute was before Mèniére’s Disease.

Now, I’ve had to ditch multi-tasking and adopt mindfulness. I don’t rush along the footpath; I take my time and carry a walking stick. Microwave meals and chocolate are out. I can’t work long hours and prop myself up with caffeine. Sodium is out; fruit and vegetables are in.

I will miss coffee, chocolate, commonly available breads, cheese and many other foods for the rest of my life. I will miss being able to eat in a café or restaurant without giving the sodium content any thought. I will miss being confident about simple tasks like going down staircases or just walking without falling down.

“And from that moment on, I did not have to take another step, the ground walked for me through that garden where for so long now my actions had ceased to be accompanied by any deliberate attention: Habit had taken me in its arms, and it carried me all the way to my bed like a little child.” Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time, translated from the French by Lydia Davis

Marcel Proust and Mèniére’s are teaching me to see how blinded I was by habit, how much I missed in the routine and in the arrogance of health.

© JD Ellevsen 2016

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