Does your routine get to you these days? Does the sameness of the days get to you? Do you wake up some of these pandemic mornings and wonder what is all for? Do you think “Where is the meaning in this? All I do is eat, poop, sleep, and perhaps reproduce?” The joke is when you google that, you’ll get lots of newborn childcare advice.
I liken the routine of this life we are living to the arc of my refrigerator contents over the course of a week. We go to the store late Sunday nights to avoid crowds and stock up for the week, only going once. If we don’t have it [like some newly needed ingredient] during that week, we substitute or do without.
At first, with thorough menu planning, the week looks bright with yummy, satisfying meals. Then perhaps a night arrives during the week, and none of the pre-planned options looks appealing. Why is that? Is it lack of spontaneity? (That happens with sex, too, for many people.) Or being sick of the required food prep and cleanup? Or bored of my own cooking?
Take A Tiny Break From Your Routine
There are remedies for all. If nothing is appealing I can go grab takeout. That takes care of all three in one fell swoop. And it punctuates the week with a tiny break from the routine. We all need breaks that way on occasion.
Or I could settle myself into the moment that sometimes makes me sigh with sameness, but move further into it, appreciating that I have the food, the means to prepare and cook it, all of my teeth to chew it, and slide into the full enjoyment of my riches. This is what intentionality looks like. And it is more valuable than spontaneity in a long term relationship. In sex, too. Being intentional with your partner, and what you choose to focus on, becomes your truth.
Sometimes it is sort of overwhelming at the beginning of the week. My refrigerator is kind of stuffed, since I just went shopping, and I have to figure out where to put it all—as when your schedule is full—or your head is full (of anxiety). Then towards the middle, it settles as items get gradually used up. Towards the end, it becomes quite satisfying that I planned well, and the main compartment starts to look empty, with very little waste. I like that, little waste. Means my intentional planning worked out well.
The vast majority of meaning in our lives is found in the gigantically small moments. We need to savor them.–Page Rutledge, LCSW
The Paradox Of Routine
Then Sunday rolls around and it’s time to do it again. The paradox is that we are creatures of routine who thrive on having our expectations met. But we all need and crave periodic punctuation of that routine. Your work is to figure out how to do that in your own life when and where the shake up is needed. The vast majority of meaning in our lives is found in the gigantically small moments. We need to savor them.
If you need help with that, contact me here. Saying what hurts, out loud, to a compassionate listener, is effective. Why not give it a try?
Tags: #paradox #spontaneity #boredom #intentional #routines #meaningoflife #pandemic #covid19 #thistooshallpass #anxietyisaparadox