Routine is Not a Dirty Word
Some routines are an absolute necessity of life, others need shaking up once in awhile.
Take the workday morning. That routine, in my mind, is something that has its usual steps as a mere matter of necessity- your brain is trained to do things in a certain order in order to wake up slowly ( or conversely, to get things done while still half asleep) and get to work on time. Often, even the slightest deviation from this plan causes a chain reaction to other morning activities that often then leads to an ‘off’ feeling all day.
And for me, my coming home from work days have a bit of a routine to them- coffee mug in sink, look at mail, wash face, etc. This again I think is because often my drive home and day at work has fried my brain a bit and I need a bit of time when I get in the house to decompress and remember how to cook/exercise/ be functional.
And then of course there are the routines which are just dying to be broken free from- Tuesday is Taco night, for example ( it isn’t for me, but a lot of people eat certain foods only on certain nights and expect that always).
This idea of routines also had me thinking of traditions and how different they are, but also are remarkably similar. Traditions are things that are passed down within a group of people and are often things we look forward to, but routines can have that quality too. I like the lazy Sunday morning routine I have which I inherited from my parents, so it sort of makes it a tradition as well. It’s almost a routine/tradition in our family at the holidays to have an argument over the Christmas tree light colors, how many ornaments to put on, and the like. We don’ look forward to the yelling at each other, but its almost an important part of the process/routine of putting up the tree as well.
In general, the routine things of life are just that and often don’t bring extra joy or satisfaction to life. The traditions often rise to the top because of the expectation aspect of them, as well as the sharing in a common memory or idea with people you care about. I think routines can be made far more joyous and less about running through the tasks to get to the desired end. I think constantly adjusting and looking at routines, how/why we do them, is what brings the extra joy and satisfaction to our life so that when you say to someone you have a Sunday morning routine, it makes you smile knowing you’re doing something you want and enjoy.
Routines get a bad rap and I think that they often are seen as the mundane of life. And while that is true, the mundane is what life holds in the day to day. Knowing the mundane and rote tasks that are required is what makes the special moments and events rise above because you can recognize their magic quality.
I don’t quite have a neat way to wrap up this big thinking about routines, mundane tasks, and traditions, and certainly haven’t explored deep feelings on the topic, but I think I’m just trying to once again speak in favor of a calm, quiet life where joy is found in even the most routine places.
I’ve been thinking about this same topic as well recently and have been planning on blogging about it, especially after having a conversation with some fellow creative artist-y people. We all discussed how important routine and rituals were to us, both to make us feel a little more “sane” and connected to ourselves, and also to ease up the decision-making process so that we can focus our attention on creative work. I’ve seen a pin recently that said, “Routine does not allow us to progress,” and I sort of disagree with that. Routine can equal a habit if it’s backed by intention, which is obviously a positive thing and allow us to take steps towards our goals. I have more thoughts, but I think I’ll save it for that blog post 😉
I don’t have much of a routine because every day is different. Some days I work, some days I have class, some days I have work and class and some days I have neither! It’s all very chaotic and I sometimes have trouble figuring out what to accomplish each day. Although I like that my life has variety, sometimes it’s a little much and I wish I had a better strategy for getting stuff done. Hmmm, I smell a blog post! Hehe. 🙂