Monday, February 27, 2012


Have you read this article from the New York Times? It's about how Target can know, based on the information the store collects and buys, that a woman is pregnant, long before she announces the pregnancy. What Target has learned is that 45% of an individual's activities during a given day are dictated by habit. Target wants to change your shopping habits and has invested millions of dollars into figuring out how to get you to do that (apparently the birth of a child is a time when many people actually change their habits).

Lots of things are remarkable about this article, but the most interesting thing to me is that Target has an army of employees figuring out how to change my habits. Me, not so much. Sometimes I think about changing my bad habits, and sometimes I actually try to do something about them. But for the most part, I feel too tired, too lazy, too unmotivated to do anything about them. I suppose I let advertisers do that for me.

I wasn't always this way. In my late teens and early twenties, all I could think about (besides boys, school, food, clothes, and politics) was how to improve myself. I needed to work hard to get to the "acceptable" range on some invisible human worth scale. I eventually realized that this was an unhealthy motivator, so I figured other ways to change my habits and improve.

Now? All I want to do is take a nap. So what if I only brush my teeth for thirty seconds on nights when I'm really tired? I know I'm still a good person if I waste time reading instead of emptying the dishwasher. And I will not be guilted into thinking that I'll make my child in utero fat by helping myself to that extra lemon bar. I love myself just the way I am, and I see no reason to change.

Except, that's not totally true. I don't want to always be like I am now. When I picture what my life is like at sixty, I live in a beautiful (although small, if you're looking for details) home, where sparkling clean is the norm. I still have a full set of teeth and I am not, in fact, obese. I pick up on literary allusions in the books I read and since the kids have been out of the house for a while, I am enjoying a great career. I'm kinder than I am now. I'm more at peace than I am now. I'm wiser than I am now.

Yikes. If only I had the energy, drive, and focus that those Target employees have to change my habits. I guess I better figure something out soon. After my nap. 


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Summer Day at the Beach

We're in Hawaii.  Today Summer and I spent a lot of time at the beach.  I'll post more pictures later, but this one is probably my favorite so far.