The quote attributed to Einstein goes like this: “Insanity: doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results”. I have said that to my kids, my co-workers and staff, my friends… I have even muttered it to myself on occasion – usually with reference to relationship choices but I still apparently don’t “get it”. It might not be attempt #5381 might it’s not far off.
You see, I have some habits and behaviours that I am trying to change – again. Some of these have been attempting more times that I can even possibly be expected to recall. Some are newer attempts and no less successful for their infancy in my conscious desire to rid them from my life.
For some reason I think that this time will be the time…THE time that all of my past failures at achieving what I want will come together and magically enable my endeavour to come to fruition.
An example; At the tender age of 41 years old I have tried to grow my nails how many times? Too many to mention. Now to be fair to mySelf I will point out that my nails grow oddly. They are weak and they flake and peel and crack. They have ridges and the pinky nails grow very strangely directed so that I keep them short anyways. Everytime that I have grown them out they are pretty nails and they make me feel better about my hands (I have been “blessed” with strong hands that look more like a sturdy farm womans hands than an evolved genteel lady… ok, so I’m not a genteel lady anyways but you get my drift). I marvel at my nails (well, not the pinky ones) and wonder why I would ever bite them or let them not be tended and let to grow. Then one cracks or peels and breaks. It is clipped. Then another, and another. Until I count and realize that I have only 1 or 2 pretty nails left so I cut those off and vow to start over fresh. Weeks and months go by and I lament over why I can’t stop biting my nails and the cycle begins again. Over and over again I vow to grow my nails. Over and over again I am left with shortly nipped nails.
As if another example is needed… trying to get my eating habits under control. Being a recovering anorexic and bulimic I have eating patterns that could be best described at sporadic and unhealthy. I almost never eat 3 meals a day and often go full days without food. Eating only when I’m shaky and light-headed and then choosing options that are easy and require no thought. My ability to feed myself has become a running joke to myself and my friends and family. I have had boyfriends try to “fix” my eating habits to no avail.
I am a huge fan of spreadsheets and lists and organizational structure. When I had all of my kids at home with me I was super planner compiling weekly meal plans for lunches and dinners, a grocery list that was compartmentalized by food type. Shopping done with military-like precision and a kitchen that was run like clockwork. I was uber meal planner. Now, living alone I have lost count of how many times i have stocked my fridge only to throw out the food, rotten a month later. Breads moldy and milk soured from lack of ingestion. Fruit flies flitter around my kitchen like on vacation, an abundance of delectables for them to graze on that I haven’t eaten.
Yet again and again I make lists and shop and plan. Again and again the results are the same.
Chatting with a therapist today about insomnia which has plagued me for over a year and a half now and he inquires what I do when I can’t sleep. I say I toss and turn and lay there. Always the same. He has a brilliant idea (to me at least). Try something different. Clearly what I’ve been doing hasn’t been working so how about I try a new way. Get up and read, listen to some quiet music, whatever, but get out of bed. He asks if I’ll give it a try. I say sure, why not, doing what I have been hasn’t been working – it’s not like I have anything to lose.
And just like that, suddenly, a light bulb moment…
So what’s the answer? Einstein was a pretty smart guy, maybe it’s time to listen to the words that have spilled from my own mouth so many times and stop doing what I’ve always done. Shake things up and try a different way. Goodness knows doing the same old same old sure hasn’t worked for me.