“it’s just a habit”

I developed a habit when I was young, and like most children, it had to do with sucking my fingers. Although, it wasn’t the typical thumb-sucking that many fall into, I sucked on my index and middle finger.

It wasn’t until I somehow gave myself an infection in my middle finger that caused me to stop. However, this wasn’t my decision – knowing my stubborn child-self, I would have kept this habit up despite the obvious issues with it. It was my parents who forced the habit out of me, scolding me every time my hand were near my mouth.

Now being much older, when I reflect on moments like this I have to laugh. It also makes me wonder… what other habits have I picked up along the way, and are they stranger to others?

One morning, I sat on the bus up to school. I was half asleep, my headphones were in, and I found myself constantly glancing at the girl who sat next to me on the bus. She was clearly cramming for some type of test, as she franticly read through her notes. Her mouth moved as she silently repeated the handwritten words.

Yet, what really caught my attention was her small pattern, as she licked her fingertips before flipping the page.

She did this every time, with every page.

And, for whatever reason, I was stunned. This isn’t an unusual habit, yet, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking deeper about it. Doesn’t licking ones fingers take more time to flip the page? What would cause someone to develop a habit such as this?

But then again, I’m sure I have plenty of habits others wonder about. Why do I have to tap the bread knife twice on the cutting board after I slice a piece? It doesn’t help clean off the crumbs on the knife, yet, I feel weird when I don’t participate in this action.

But are all habits breakable? Or perhaps they’re embedded into the deepest parts of our personality; but what if they’re harmful for us, just like how my finger-sucking habit left me with an infection?

Or maybe, habits are unavoidable. Some go away, others stick with us forever. And upon others noticing these habits and questioning them, we simply reply with “I don’t know, it’s just shit I do, a lot.”

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