Compulsive? Me? Only a little bit…

It already starts in the morning, as soon as the alarm clock goes off. 3 times of snoozing before getting out of bed. My routine: toilet, shower, getting dressed, gathering all of my office food and by bike to work. All of this within 45 minutes. I eat breakfast at work, during the first hours of the day. Nothing weird about this, everybody has his/ her habits, right?

It’s kind of a routine. It requires little or no effort and you don’t actually have to think about how you do it. Recognizable? I do have more patterns like the one descibed above and that’s just fine.  However, you might find some of my other routines to be a little bit weird and even somewhat compulsory. And about those specific patterns I sometimes worry. Do I have to change my ways?

So, for example, there is this thing I do before going to sleep: checking under my bed. Rationally: of course there’s nothing under the bed, so why even bother to check. But, when I ‘forget’ or decide not to look, I just can’t sleep. Maybe you are wondering about what kind of (youth) trauma is the cause of this strange habit. Well, that’s easy: when I was young, there was a burglary in our home. Everything was torn apart, even my bed: even the mattrass was removed from the bed. Ever since, I look under the bed before going to sleep.

This habit is just one of the few I would really like to get rid off. Not because it’s preventing me from functioning and it doesn’t effect my life or the lifes of people around me. But it does kind of feel compulsory and that’s what I don’t like about it. And the strange thing is, when sleeping somewhere else, it doesn’t even cross my mind to check under the bed. Only when getting ready to go home again, to make sure no personal items are being left behind.

There’s also this thing with cycling: I prefer to cycle on the left side, so I can’t get stuck between the other cyclist and the sidewalk. When accidentally I end up between the sidewalk and a cyclist anyway, it just feels weird and kind of closed in. My immediate reaction is to slow down and reverse the situation. I don’t understand the cause of this habit, but it’s a bit easier to let go off.

And then there is this thing with the stove… Before leaving my home, or before going to bed, I will check the stove at least once or twice. When doing this consciously, once is enough. My aunt and uncle from Apeldoorn used to join us for New Year’s Eve. And during one of those visits, they couldn’t remember removing the pan with cooking pears (or rolled roast, I can’t remember what they prepared) from the stove. So, after some deliberating they decided to call their neighbours. The neighbours had to break a window of the shed to get the keys to the house. And yes, the pan was still on the stove and the gas was turned on. Luckily they remembered in time! But I still think about this incident sometimes when checking the stove.

Do you always choose the same bedside? The same chair or couch when visiting friends or family? Do you often choose the same route in the supermarket? Take some time to think about your behaviour. Do you recognize any patterns or habits? Think about how these routines effect your life and if you like to change them or not. We would love to hear about your habits. You can share them in the comments below this blog.

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