I love routine. I kind of live by it.
As a Type-A person, having a routine keeps me sane. I find comfort in knowing how my day will turn out. During the school year I try to pick classes that mesh well with my routine: Wake up early, exercise, eat breakfast (or breakfast first if I’m not working out), go to class, eat lunch, do homework, have some “me” time (aka a nap or one episode of Grey’s), eat dinner, study (or club meetings), go to bed. Repeat. I have no complaints about my routine. In fact, I love it. But being home for summer and starting a new job has made me reevaluate the emphasis I placed on maintaining a routine.
I don’t leave much room for spontaneity. If something pops up out of the blue and I can’t prepare for it, I usually don’t participate. Or, I participate unwillingly and end up complaining most of the time. This past year I’ve “loosened up” a little, which sometimes resulted in anxiety (I felt unproductive and mad that my day wasn’t in my control. Oh, control…that’s a whole different post). However, more often than not, the result was positive and I had fun.
I’m a planner by nature but I’m learning that too much of it can have a negative effect socially…even in little instances such as hanging out with friends. For example, last year, if I had planned to go to yoga at a certain time and my friends invited me to go to the beach at the same time, I would have probably said that I’d meet them later. But lately, I’ve started making an effort to readjust (or ignore) my routine and make it adaptable to real life…where things aren’t predictable.
Sticking to my routine everyday may make me happy in the short term, but making memories with people will bring a lifetime of happiness. If it means skipping yoga to go to the beach with friends, no problem! If it means making late lunch plans because my friend doesn’t get out of class until 2 p.m., then I want to be able to adjust…happily.
On the other hand, I’m hesitant to say that I’d ever give up maintaining a routine completely. Last week, I did not know what to expect before I started my summer internship and instead of stressing over that, I relied on my routine. I simply readjusted the schedule I’m used to and went into the week without any worries.
While my routine is good in many aspects, I need to work on loosening up a little. I think this summer with vacation time and work I’ll face scenarios that will challenge my routine, and I need to learn to that that’s OK. Nothing bad will happen if I have a project that keeps me at work until 8 p.m. instead of 6. The sky won’t fall if I don’t get to workout because of an early meeting.
Instead of always staying in the comfort of my routine, I want to relax and be open to all of the possibilities in life. My goal is basically another tie to living a healthyish life…having a routine with some wiggle room.