The Way You Always Do It

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m sitting on my porch swing reading a library book. I’m trying to finish it. It’s due next week and it’s not renewable.

Even though our library has stopped charging overdue fines, I still don’t want to be late returning my books. For over 50 years I’ve been checking out books and trying to get them back in on time. I don’t want to change now.

But I lay the book down now because my cellphone is ringing.

It’s not the ringtone I want to hear, though.

I’d spent time last Monday working with my friend V and her new phone. We have an arrangement where she calls me weekly to let me know if she needs anything since she doesn’t drive.

And she always calls using the Messenger app.

The app normally works fine for our calls, except when V accidentally logs out of Messenger, forgets her password, and can’t get back in. Calling me directly from her Phone app would be far more reliable.

So on Monday I programmed my cell number into her phone, and starred it as a favorite for her. Standing together inside her apartment, I called her so she could practice answering it. Then I had her practice pushing the green phone icon and calling me.

She got it right every time. Whew. It will be a new habit for her, but she can do it.

We all use our phones in different ways. When I look at my own phone bill, I’m amused at how differently Jeff and I communicate with our phones. I have lots of text messages, but few actual phone calls. Jeff has fewer text messages, but more phone calls. We both like it that way.

But as my phone is ringing this Saturday from V, it’s the old tone.

She’s still calling me from Messenger.

Oh well.

If it works for V (at least for now), it’s fine with me. Sometimes we don’t need to change our ways if they’re still working, even if the new way might be easier.

We chat. She tells me she loves her new phone. I don’t question her about not calling me this time from the Phone app. We’ll address it again later if the need arises. For now, she’s happy doing it her old way.

We hang up and I return to reading my book on the porch. I should be finished before next Saturday.

And I will return the book to the library on time, just the way I’ve always done it.

the way you always do it

Are there habits you keep because it’s how you’ve always done it (and they’re still working)? Share in the comments.

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12 thoughts on “The Way You Always Do It

  1. Linda Stoll

    It makes me smile when I see myself doing or saying things my Mom used to say. I’m sitting here reflecting on your question … it’s a simple one, yet it’s really quite complex, Lisa. It’s true that old habits die hard.

  2. Michele Morin

    Your story stirs an awareness of the loyalty I feel toward certain practices, certain ways of doing things. I think it’s comforting and probably efficient. And as long as I resist the urge to turn them into idols, I will keep them with joy. ?

  3. Barbara Harper

    That’s my biggest problem with new technology. I know they are always updating and there are always new features to be added. But I hate when it seems like they moved something just to be different. Like a button on one side is now on the other side, and my finger keeps wanting to tap the “old” side. I tell myself it’s good for my brain to do things differently sometimes.

    But there are other things that are fine, even comfortable and efficient, to keep doing as have always been done.

  4. Lois Flowers

    Lisa, this post made me smile because now that my college daughter is home, I’m finding I’m a little more set in my ways than I thought. She lived in a house this past year and now wants to do things around our house her way, but I want to do them the way I’ve always done them. It’s my house, right? Except, do I really need to be so stubborn? No, not really!

  5. Aritha

    As for me, one habit I have that I’ve stuck with is writing in a physical journal. I know there are plenty of digital options out there, but there’s just something about the process of putting pen to paper that I find really satisfying. Plus, it’s a nice break from staring at screens all day.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and prompting us to reflect on our own habits.

  6. Jean Wise

    I think there is a comfort to hold habits. Last month my hairdresser parted my hair on the other side and challenged me to try it. will give my hair more body she said. Well that lasted only a couple of day. Drove me crazy!! Yep , returned to my comfortable side to part my hair. Makes me smile to think about this….

  7. Joanne

    That sounds like me all weekend– trying to finish up all the book I’m in the middle of when they’re all due back within the next week! I hate returning them after their due date even if we no longer have fines.

  8. Donna Reidland

    My husband and I were just talking about this subject this morning. We know we both have habits that we do because we have always done them that way, even though there are probably easier ways. Our grown daughter and granddaughter frequently suggest things. Sometimes we do make changes but sometimes the old way is well … comfortable. LOL

  9. Tammy Kennington

    Some habits can be so comforting. I love curling up in the same rocking chair in the morning with a cup of tea to read my Bible. The sameness and repetition gives me a sense of great pleasure.

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