Usually when someone sits down at my computer they complain that the mouse is on the left side and that doesn’t work for them. Since I’ve been right-handed from Day One, what’s the scoop? The answer is simple: I’ve changed a habit. About ten years ago when the right side of my neck was annoying me, I thought maybe it was the result of too much right-handed computer use and I tried switching to the left. By now, left-handed clicking has become second-nature. The neck is still annoying but I learned something about habits. Even old dogs can change them.

Later, when troubled by a left hip problem, I thought perhaps it was because I always cross my left leg over my right. So, I switched.   Now I’m comfortable with my legs crossed either way. The hip problem did disappear and I’ve become fascinated by habits.

When I got my Jeep I had a whole batch of old habits that needed to change and I wondered if I was up to it.   Now, three months later, I have a whole batch of new Jeep habits (the old ones still lurk a little but are on their way out). The habit I’ve had to work hardest on was clicking my seat belt in place. On my old Olds it was easy. I could do it without looking. The Jeep was obstinate. It refused to cooperate and I would have to turn and look in order to click. Somehow, it has finally happened – it will usually click into place without my looking. I do not understand what I am doing different. My hands seem to have learned what my brain couldn’t. I am pleased but puzzled.

Habits can be useful – or not. I had never really studied them before. I have developed the habit of taking my morning medication right after I make my bed. It works for me. I squat when picking something up from the floor instead of bending over. I figure it is good for my quads.

Sometimes I wish I could go back and do my parenting over again. I would pay more attention to what my kids are learning from me. I read about a woman who suffered with a husband who always left doors and drawers open. When she finally visited his family, she understood. That was what was done in their home! I notice with pleasure that when grandson Jaime visits, he always takes his glass or plate and leaves it in the kitchen sink. Chalk one up for his mother, Mary!

Habits can work for us or against us. An ingrained undesirable habit can be very difficult to replace but it is worth the effort. I’m a firm believer in (a) the power of practice and (b) the power of prayer. “All things are possible with God.”

Lately I’ve taken to genuflecting in church on my left knee. Why? Because I can. Because for 85 years I’ve done it the other way.  I don’t want to grow up lopsided.


Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. — Proverbs 22:6