Do you do things on autopilot? Sure, we all do. But right after you do that thing, do you think,… I need to stop doing that. The reasons could be because it’s a bad habit, it’s rude, or you realize/think I look like a complete idiot.
As an expatriate, my adapting mode is constantly on (and at times, I do look like a complete idiot).
It didn’t take moving country to pick up on this.
Growing up, I went to 3 different high schools, and each one had its “what’s cool” rules (clothing, slang, and of course kids). So adjust, I did. In my career life, each company I worked for, had its own distinct and unique work culture. Hence, more adjusting. And when I moved from Washington D.C. to Northern California, I quickly learned to never ask, ‘soooo what do you do for a living?‘ Okay, I didn’t have to adjust to this (I think it’s a soulless question asked by silly people who size others up), but I did feel like I was surrounded by like minded people.
Every time my environment changed, I changed. I learned the rules, played the game, and figured out how best to blend in, without losing my authenticity.
Getting out of cruise control
Studies show that it takes anywhere from 18 days to 256 days to break a habit. And how you change a learned behavior can be done by replacing them with another, creating a reward system, or changing an environment. Altering my habits seem to be a combination of all the above.
Here are the things that I need to stop doing.
5 Habits I Need To Break
1) Checking the weather
The weather in Singapore is like the movie Groundhogs Day. In respect that it’s the same climate every day. It’s the same scorching hot and humid temperature with bouts of rain.
With no changes in seasons and temperature. You would think common sense would grant me the smarts to delete the weather app.
So why do I keep checking the weather? Do I have the memory of a goldfish?
Well, to be perfectly honest. I do it because I’m checking safety levels. Safety concerning UV and UB index. Located two degrees from the equator, Singapore’s UV index is INTENSE and I want to navigate the rest of my life without skin cancer. Hence, I check the weather, err more so I check the level of UV index daily.
Maybe it’s not a weather app I need, it’s a UV rays app.
2) Giving ice-cold water to guests
It’s surface of the sun hot in Singapore and having ice cold water is super refreshing. As well as coming inside to AC, peeling off sweaty clothes, and guzzling down a glass of ice-cold glass water.
Ice water is an American thing. We love it, but the rest of the world, well not so much. So without thought, I give my guests unwanted glacially ice water.
Much like coffee or tea (with milk and sugar?). I mindfully have to ask my guests how do they take their water. Warm or cold?
3) Putting eggs in the refrigerator
There’s no need. Yet our refrigerators suggest otherwise. On the inside of a refrig’s door is a built-in egg compartment. Funny how an inanimate object is designed to send a clear and actionable message of, refrigerate your eggs.
Out of the gate, the eggs we purchase were never refrigerated to begin with. Thus, this gives them a small chance of forming condensation. Which creates the bacteria; salmonella that causes food poisoning.
At the grocery store, you will see a whole isle, full of non-refrigerated eggs.
4) Taking my safety for granted
The biggest crutch back in the States is dealing with crime. Being a woman and having to be on guard, and being super aware of my surroundings at all times when out in public. Is exhausting but necessary.
Letting my guard down is something I have to remember not to do, when I’m not in Singapore. The Little Red Dot is one of the safest cities in the world. I don’t have to worry about being harassed, having packages stolen from the front door, having my phone stolen from my hands, or worrying that my purse or bag is open in public areas (and of course, the more serious of crimes, as well).
It’s super rude to point with an index finger. I definitely don’t point at people (I’m not a complete animal), but I have caught myself pointing at a building, a general area, or something lowkey like pointing at a menu.
What I ought to do, is turn my palm up, fingers together and gesture with my hand.
Living overseas is a daily reminder that I’m not in Kansas (California) anymore.