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A Life of Habit

“Every spirit builds itself a house; and beyond its house, a world; and beyond its world a heaven. Know then, that the world exists for you: build, therefore, your own world.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Christmas is perhaps the brightest marker that we pass on our annual circuit around the sun. Whilst our lap time doesn’t vary with the years, our performance often does, and so consider it that last order’s bell reminding you to make the most of the days remaining.

If, looking back at the last 12 months, you’re less than impressed with your achievements, then it’s not too late to create catalyst for change. Lives, indeed whole cultures, are formed by seasonal habits - what is Christmas itself after all? To an anthropologist, traditions and customs are a defining feature of societies. For individuals they can offer similar identity through annual repetition. In the last few days then let this year be the year that you started a tradition of your own that might inject your own life with the life you crave. Something edifying perhaps, something to give your life some order, something that might define better the person you want to be and the things that you want to do with your time: Start a tradition of annually reading Proust or Balzac over the holidays; or watching a classic film that you can revisit again and again (if you’ve not seen Grand Hotel let me recommend it). Visit that restaurant you’ve always dreamed of frequenting as a regular. Seek out that painting that will be the first acquisition of your one day bulging art collection. Make this this the year that you first booked tickets to the ballet. Dressed up in black tie for Christmas dinner – and if don’t own dinner jacket then this could still be the year that you finally bought your own.

None of these might appeal to you personally but there will no doubt be things that you want to do with your life that you don’t currently make time for or invest in. Whilst carolers still sing it’s not too late to make this year the year that you changed all that. Plant a winter bulb now and it watch it come into bloom next year.