By: Lorraine Iverson
Having gone through a big life transition, I have let go of a lot of my routines. And that's a good thing. We humans tend to get stuck in ruts. Meatloaf on Mondays, tacos on Tuesday - you know the drill. As I contemplated my retirement, I really looked forward to not having such a rigid routine. And I'm enjoying the freedom. But we don't have to wait that long to climb out of our ruts. What if we changed up our routines on a regular basis, just so we don't become slaves to them? If we are too rigidly run by our routines, any little change could put us in quite a tail-spin. We need to keep a semblance of order but adding some variation keeping us refreshed and stimulating our creativity just by viewing life from a different perspective.
Take Roads Less Traveled
This is an oldie but a goodie. Don't always travel the same route. Whether a walk to the grocery store or your drive to work - take a different way - often. We always seem to be on autopilot in our daily lives. And, we miss a lot. You know how it is when you're on vacation. Everything is new. Every corner you turn, there's something different and exciting. You can also experience that on a regular basis. Don't take the freeway home. Go through neighborhoods you don't know. Slow down, look around. It may take a bit longer to get home but oh the adventures you just might have along the way!
When I was kid, if my dad cooked dinner, it would be breakfast for dinner. We loved that. Eat dessert first - your kids will be thrilled. Got a hot date with your honey? Have sex before dinner. You'll actually be awake for all of it and enjoy it more. Change up your exercise routine. Cardio after strength and vice versa. Your muscles will be happier too.
Be With You
Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist Way, recommends taking artist dates. You go out by yourself to an exhibit or a museum, somewhere inspirational, and you observe and absorb the experience as you only can if you're alone. Sharing is nice but it's much more personal and intense solo. So many people avoid alone time, especially going out to eat or traveling alone. I wouldn't want to do it all the time but it is a very different and rewarding experience once in a while.
Just to mix things up.
I used to drive from San Diego to the Bay Area to see my kids. I'd take a couple days. I would stop half way in one of the small beach towns and spend the night. I'd walk the beaches, eat meals alone and just enjoy my own company before meeting up with my wonderful, wild family.
Shut up and Wake up
Pick a day without anything going on and take a vow of silence. Some folks do this for long periods of time at spiritual retreats. But for us, in our everyday environments, one day will do wonders. That means, no texts or emails. Stop communicating for one day and just observe, just be. Go out amongst people and listen. You can always add more days or try a silent retreat. I know we all need our routines and schedules. Even children, who should be free to just be, must have some level of organization or they turn into little hellions. But wouldn't it be lovely to keep ourselves awake and aware in the midst of the mundanity of our "must do's".
That different road might show us a gorgeous tree we've never noticed or a lovely little park nestled between buildings. That day of silence might inspire a week of composing music. Just a little deviation from the norm can open your eyes and change your world. So, yes, keep your act together. Pay the mortgage on time. But walk to the bank this month - the daffodils are in bloom.