Do you have habits that you continue to practice even though you know they are ridiculous or irritating or parental directives you are horrified to admit that you’ve adopted?

I have one I can’t seem to shake: I hate being late to anything. Whether it’s catching a flight, attending a seminar, hosting a party, or checking in to Zoom Pilates, the thought of lateness increases my heart rate, and the words, “Hurry up,” tumble out of my mouth. It’s annoying to me and to others.

Last week, I had an acupuncture appointment and expressed my desire to leave a little earlier than usual, “…just in case traffic is heavy.” My husband looked at me and laughed. “You will worry that you’ll be late for your own funeral!” He’s right; I probably will be. I see it now, coaxing him from the “other side” saying, “Did you confirm the time with the crematorium? Did you download my folder with my favorite music?” Those and a thousand other questions will be etched on my never-ending to do list.

In case lateness is not one of your inherited behaviors, I offer hope and encouragement for the traits I’ve shed. I no longer feel guilty about leaving food on my plate at the end of a meal. I don’t always turn the light off when leaving a room. And I’ve been known to hold the refrigerator door open until it beeps when looking something to satisfy my palate. My peace of mind is ehanced when I’m not worrying about pleasing others—the key to letting go of old habits.

Yesterday, on a walk, my mind jumped ahead to an upcoming project.  My husband interrupted, “Look!” Startled, I stopped and stared up at an eight-foot-tall fence covered in purple Wisteria and breathed in its delicate fragrance. My preoccupation with my thoughts had blocked out both sight and scent until his request brought me back to the present moment. Later, I wrote myself a note: Be present and welcome all happiness that comes without planning. Translation, take time to smell the Wisteria!