The word ‘routine’ comes from the word ‘route’. So sometimes, just changing your route can give you a refreshing break from your routine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of routine. As a child I was quite averse to change of any kind and even though I eventually learnt to embrace the good in any situation, I reveled in the comfort of routine. I still do in fact. And by routine I don’t necessarily mean those that lead to high productivity; there are enough routines in the world that we fall into that do not benefit us in any way. They are commonly referred to as ruts. So spending the entire weekend doing nothing but binge watching TV shows and movies and ordering food is an example of a bad routine. But I digress. So sometimes by literally, physically changing your route, you get a new perspective of life or a situation. Sometimes this change of route can be inspired by a conversation or something you read. But most of the time serendipity doesn’t exactly strike, so we need to have a mechanism for ourselves to know when to break from routine even if for a single evening. I tried that today and found myself taking a long walk and then settling down at a cafe to research and write. After a while, on a whim I decided to try another cafe and treated myself to a delicious bacon and egg sandwich. As I sit here in the glow of lamplight, enjoying the soft music and writing this, I feel a sense of contentment. I wouldn’t choose to do this everyday but I liked it today and that’s what matters. And I hope I remember this feeling so that pretty soon I want to do this again.
But I should know, as should you, that routine has a few sly friends who like to gang up on us. Apathy is one of them; we don’t even know it’s there – working behind the scenes – till the day comes when we find ourselves exhausted from it. So watch out for this one. It’s typical symptoms include a weird disinterest in all things good or bad, and a general sense of being bogged down. The next one is the all time favourite: laziness. Bad enough though it is by itself, when combined with apathy it can become crippling. I don’t need to define this one; if even the thought of wearing your shoes, let alone going for a walk makes you shudder, you’ve got a bad case of laziness. Ironically, the cure to both is actually to get moving and do something but it’s one of those inexplicably vicious cycles of life. The last one is my personal favourite, the future self syndrome. OK I made up the term but the concept exists. It’s the idea that your future self, be it a day in the future or years ahead will do all the things you cannot do today. But the beauty of this lies in the fact that the future is a mirage. The moment you arrive there it becomes the present and the more presents we waste, the fewer we have left to anything in. So I guess our forefathers had it right when they said we must seize the day. Carpe diem indeed. Let’s drink to that.