What If?

If I start a new habit on a Monday morning it will stick. This is what I tell myself on Sunday night as I imagine how productive I will be if I just get up when the alarm goes off instead of hitting snooze. If I just get up after the third time I’ve hit snooze instead of getting up and going to the bathroom and taking my pills and then climbing back into bed to look at the glowing rectangle. If I just, after an hour of being alarmed by the glowing rectangle, go to the kitchen, pour the cereal into a bowl, make a cup of tea, or if it’s too hot, pour a glass of iced coffee, sit on the porch, read and eat, and then start writing, it will stick.

If instead of writing I just keep reading. Instead of reading or writing I run. Instead of reading or writing or running I tell myself that it’s okay to look at the glowing rectangle again because then I can read the posts from writers I admire saying how hard it is to write sometimes and that I am a writer too and isn’t it just so hard?

If Monday afternoon comes, the time after 11am and before noon, and I haven’t written, but I’ve read, and I haven’t run, but I’ve stretched, have I had a successful day? If no new habits, no good new habits, have been formed, should I wait until next Monday to start again? Why does the week have to start on the day we all agree is too hard? If we start on a Tuesday will it become as reviled as Monday? Will we all have a case of the Tuesdays? Tuesday has its own problems, the hangover from the unproductive Monday, the pressure to right the ship after a horrible start to the week. If we made Tuesday the beginning, would Wednesday suffer?

If I promise to start something at 11am and it is currently 10:46am, do I have to wait fourteen minutes for it to feel satisfying? If I do something else and get distracted and look up to find that it’s now 11:02am, do I have to wait until 11:15am or it won’t work? Why do I wait instead of pushing through? Why do I value something that is a uniquely human construct? The squirrels in the yard do not wait to find and bury nuts until a socially agreed upon time. They do not cram their little snouts into muddy holes looking for the bounty of a former time, lifting up their noses to sniff for predators, pat the ground with little paws when they’ve found, or not found, what they’ve been looking for when the minute hand is on a nice round number.

If the sun is warm and hot and moving across the sky. If the leaves on the tree shudder and catch the breeze, If a tiny spider who grows larger as the summer ages constructs a web that joins the cucumber plant to the tomato plant and carefully and methodically wraps up a meal for later. If nothing else waits for a pretty time or a tidy day, why do I? What if I stop making excuses and start making choices?

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