Are you a creature of habit, a prisoner of routine? The nature of the “American Way” often leaves us with little opportunity to divert from daily convention with reckless abandon. You know it’s true. Even I cannot function without that first cup of coffee. And my free time is limited by work expectations.
A five-day workweek becomes a Groundhog Day horror for many of us. The alarm goes off, and we stumble out of bed navigating the morning in a habitual grind. It reeks of leading the cattle to slaughter.
But it keeps us on point, doesn’t it? Without that cadence of routine, we tend to lose our way and wander endlessly without focus. We lose precious minutes, sometimes hours, without so much as an understanding of how, or why.
Now some will call it discipline. And many will admit without the safety net of a routine, they get lost in a swirling sea of anxiety. Decision-making is just easier when it is predetermined. I understand that, but the result is horrifying to me. Without spontaneity, we wander around in an existential rut. And Lord, I hate being in a rut.
I am certain not all of you had a very predictable childhood like mine. In my house, if we were having spaghetti for dinner, it must be Tuesday. And when we had pot roast on Thursday, we had leftover beef and noodles on Friday. The Gregorian monks could have set their calendars on our food consumption.
As I grew older my unmanageable work schedules eliminated the menu ordinances ingrained in my youthful food comforts. It did not hold the importance for me as it did for my mother. Yet I can also remember the irritation that ensued when a significant other lamented, “What’s for dinner?” five minutes after I walked in the door from a long day while he channel-surfed comfortably on the sofa.
Oh, how posting a weekly menu on the refrigerator may have bridled that bitter annoyance. Was that my mother’s secret weapon?
But routine is not always about food either. I watch people manage their lives like zombies on a blood search. Again, they call it discipline; I call it mindless repetition. I realize that sometimes action is required by rote – my favorite blueberry muffins are only produced on Wednesdays, so I must go to the bakery on Wednesdays to get one.
My bestie and I usually cougar crawl on Tuesday nights because her basement is filled with old wannabe rockstars every Tuesday night. But that, my friends, is not a mindless habit. That is her salvation.
So next time you execute a plan based on previous outcomes, pump it up a notch. Be ruthless. Change it up and proceed without thought. Who knows – you might just end up having the best damn bowl of gumbo you’ve ever had. Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.
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