March 8, 2011

Maybe It's Me: The Dizzingly Monotonous, or, Something Different Than the Same

I don’t think routines are awful. This goes against the grain of my free-spirited nature that likes to wander and experience life unplanned; but, part of me knows that it’s healthy to be actively involved in my own life, doing specific things at specific times that continue to guide and aid me into functioning and existing as my best self. And sometimes that involves the discipline of following a schedule.

The problem is when that routine becomes dizzyingly monotonous.

Maybe it’s me but when you can’t figure out if your today is your tomorrow or your yesterday because it all seems and looks and feels the same, it’s time to interrupt yourself back into the moment and out of the grand scheme.

If you layered my weekdays as of late one on top of each other, they would all look the same: up early, work-out for an hour or so, shower, go to work, get out, go home, shower, eat dinner, watch mindless television or a movie, and go to bed. Then it’s the next day, and it’s the same as the day before. And then it’s a week later, and it’s the same as the week before. And then it’s a mother later, and it’s the same as the month before. Even my weekends are unimpressive: I try and make up the sleep credits I lose during the week, catch-up on errands, and simply stay on top of all the other basic little details of living life.

Sure, I could shake things up by doing something as simple as not working out one morning. That would give me an extra hour and a half to sleep-in; or drink coffee and read the paper; or simply lay awake and lose myself in the seasons unfolding outside my bedroom window.

Something different than the same.

But of all the things in my routine working-out has always been the one constant. For nearly ten years, through nearly ten jobs, and after passing through multiple states and several different countries: I’ve worked out every week day morning. It energizes my body for the day; alerts my mind and prepares it for mental challenges that await me; reminds me daily of how blessed I am to have a healthy, strong, capable body; and, in a way, is the most peaceful part of my day, because I’m alone and am free to think, feel, and experience precisely what I want myself to think, feel, and experience.

Again – it’s part of my life’s routine that helps me exist as an individual. It’s part of me, part of the package I am, and I’m fine with that.

What I’m not fine with, what I’m having a difficult time embracing is differentiating one day from the next because they are all blending into one another. There seems to be nothing unique to set the days apart from each other, nothing special seems to stand out: my memories of one day bleed into the next. As a result, it feels like time is ticking away so fast that I’m constantly sprinting to catch up with it.

I should realize by now, of course, that this whole life thing is not a fifty-yard dash. There’s no sprint to draw-even with time, catch our breath, and sprint to the next mile marker. It’s a very long, very involved marathon, where sometimes we’re ahead of the game; sometimes we’re plateaued, caught in the middle; and, sometimes we’re fighting our way back from having fallen behind. And there are long-stretches where it all seems and looks and feels the same.

Such is life.

I appreciate the fact that I have a good job in this bad economy, the funds to feed myself, the ability to sleep in a warm and safe environment, and the health to breathe on my own.

I just need something more.

And I know I’m not alone in the desperate feeling of wanting – needing! – to be able to see my everyday life in separate, distinct moments and not in some indistinguishable blur of working, eating, sleeping, and breathing. I don’t want to be swept up and carried along in a sea of those involuntary daily activities.

But the truth is that not every day is going to be filled with never-before-seen sights, brand new adventures or opportunities that derail us from the course laid in front of us, or momentous and celebratory occasions.

Sometimes life is a little monotonous. There’s nothing wrong with it, but that’s how – I assume – we go from being age twenty-six to age fifty-six in the blink of an eye. No school of thought paralyzes me as much as when people my senior make statements like, “Enjoy it while you can; it’s all gonna go by so fast.”

“It” meaning life?

You don’t have to tell me that; I know it’s all going by so fast – I’m a twenty-something consciously digging my heels into the ground to try and prevent that very thing from happening.

I don’t want to fall into a routine that isn’t productive or proactive to as an individual. After all, we aren’t all the same – that’s what makes humanity so glorious and so intimidating – the fact that every single person ever born has been distinctly their own person. While we may have things like needing to work, and eat, and sleep, and breathe in common – we should all have unique moments, regardless of how insignificant they may seem to the overall quality of our lives or the bigger universal picture, which sets our lives and thus ourselves apart from everybody else.

I think the best we can do to do that and to stop time from pulling a fast one on us, the most hope we have from preventing our life from being pedestrian or banal, is to either find some daily wonder or do one small thing every day that makes our yesterday different enough from our today which will help vary from our tomorrow.

Just to break it all up.

Just to help us catch our breath while running this Great Race.

Just something, once in a while, to skew our normal routine and remind us that we’re alive. That we should actively be participating in our lives, making choices that aren’t always the same, shaking off the same old, same old.

And it doesn’t need to be some grand gesture like uprooting our lives to hike the rainforest.

It could be something simple.

Something as simple as spoiling myself by sleeping in once a week, or getting up early to enjoy a cup of coffee and the paper with my mom, or stopping to take the time to peacefully watch and appreciate the ever-changing world outside my window.