Thursday, December 15, 2005

Routines

I am such a creature of habit and routine, and when I mess up my routine, I mess up everything. It takes me days to get back to functioning in an easily manageable way. I like routines only because they make troublesome details easier to handle, and they save time. The second reason is the biggest. I want to hoard time, and I know I can't.

I have no great desire to grow old. In fact, I rather hope that I won't live long enough to need care beyond what I can provide for myself. (My mood may be stronger than it was just a couple of weeks ago, but I still had to silence the mental pop-up message "you should already be dead then." So it goes when depression is a chronic foe.) I desire not extended years, but fuller, richer days. I want days that are long enough to let me work full time, spend hours with my family, spend hours writing, have time to rest or play all to myself, give time and energy to keep my house a pleasing environment and sleep until I'm rested.

It will never happen, and so I guard my time jealously with routines and schedules. With everything I do, I feel that I must look at its economics. What is the opportunity cost? Certain things are priceless. I'll let the house deteriorate into a barely navigable maze of clutter if we, as a family, are having a good time together in conversation, games or just companionship when housework would interfere. Other activities I haven't valued highly enough. For too many years, writing time was seen as a luxury in necessities only time budget. (Here is where the undermining pop-up comes on the mental screen, reminding me of how everything in my life seems to have gone to hell in the last few years when I made writing a priority again. I have to remind myself that writing was one of the things that has made it possible for me to survive somewhat intact and not one of the destructive elements.) Some things are just necessities and must be included in the routine, regardless of personal preferences. My caregiving days and some of my work days fall into this category.

I always feel a bit panicky when my routines get screwed up, because then only the necessities get included for what seems like too long a time. A person can survive on a bread and water time budget, but they can't thrive. I'm simply sick of just survival. In saving my old and now closed journal, I can see so much repetitive drivel, but I can also see a lot of growth in the last couple of years. I love that as much as I love seeing a new rose bud in late fall.

There are times when I wish I could just throw structure to the winds and let myself and my time just flow. I never wanted to be a creature of habit. I'm not built that way though and need to respect that about myself. I've spent too much time and energy trying to accept the parts of myself that don't fit some pre-approved mold that I can't define but recognize. Structure and routine do fit that mold, but beyond that, they fit me. I ought to celebrate that.

6 Comments:

Blogger Gabreael said...

I say Bah! Humbug! To growing old gracefully. I'm fighting it tooth and nail!

Bah! Humbug!

Gabreael

http://gabreaelsbodymindandspirit.blogspot.com/

December 15, 2005 9:40 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I would probably get more accomplished if I created more structure in my life, but I've rebelled gainst that sort of thing since I was old enough to know what a routine was. I think schedules and routines for repetitive tasks just make them more boring for me. I have to feel like I can re-invent any task I perform all the time, just to keep myself interested enough to keep doing it. This used to drive the people who worked for me a little nuts. There was never any such thing as "this is the way we always do this."

December 15, 2005 10:09 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

I wish I too could throw structure to the wind. I'm always trying to be spontaneous and have more quality days. I just feel more comfy with boring structure! I guess I'll remain a work in progress searching for that proverbial balance. I can no longer provide for myself but I fight like hell to try. Delete the mental pop-up and keep fighting that foe, it's so worth it!

December 15, 2005 1:49 PM  
Blogger Sie said...

I can't quite tell if I have a routine or not. I know it drives me insane if I can't find something cuz someone has taken it and not put it back...

But I do know I usually like change.

December 15, 2005 5:47 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

I got stuck in a rut on vacation last year...you know, get up, walk on beach, go to breakfast and buy lunch for beach, read on beach, eat lunch, siesta on beach, go fishing, go for oysters, go for dinner, listen to live musicat beach bar. Day after day, Cynthia. It wa Hell, I tell ya, Hell.

December 15, 2005 9:27 PM  
Blogger sunflowerkat said...

Chaos...that's what it is here most times. Pure chaos. I like that I'm very flexible, but I think I'd be more relaxed if I managed things a little more predictably.

December 15, 2005 9:43 PM  

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