There are so many things that, as we get old(er), we tend to just have as routine. Like, where we keep our toothpaste, how we enjoy a particular morning regime, whether we work out before or after breakfast … this can be in relationships too – is this getting stuck or is it something else? Do I need to avoid my routines or am I ok?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this. The kids are gone, I’m living with the dog and I’ve wondered, am I stuck in ways I might not even notice. Day after day, am I following the same routines and if so, does that mean I’m actually working toward something or just killing time?
First, let me say, I’m all about cutting myself slack. I have spent a lifetime being tough on myself and while I still have super high expectations (sorry kids!), I now know that there are times I need to let go (Knowing is not always doing, but that’s for another post!)
Routines, which often look like being stuck, can actually help with anxiety and be relaxing. Starting your day off the same way can be helpful to the rest of your day. Frankly, I think my morning routine (which is often interrupted by the dog) helps me save brain power for the rest of my day.
Look at the lives of famously gifted and creative people—including Freud, Beethoven, and Georgia O’Keeffe, and you’ll see that many of them optimized their daily lives to get on top of their games. Routine was their secret weapon. internationally bestselling author Haruki Murakami told The Paris Review: “When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4 a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for 10 kilometers or swim for 1,500 meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9 p.m. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”
This is an intense example—maybe even a bit frightening, depending on how you feel about swimming—but you get my drift. We don’t have to be afraid of routine. It doesn’t mean we are stuck. It means we are creative. It means that we have time in our lives which require zero thought, so we can free our mind for more important things!
I’m going to be ok with my routines. I’m not stuck. I’m just enjoying all aspects of life—the planned and the unplanned. Life allows for plenty of room for both. Instead of beating myself up for enjoying my life process, I’m just going to enjoy my life process (read: routine) with a sprinkle of the unknown once in awhile. It’s doesn’t make me boring … it means I’m normal (sort of!).