Just by saying this word a need to inhale deeply emerges as if an invisible cigarette was stuck in my mouth. (Yes, I used to be a smoker. I don’t miss it.)
How do you feel, what do you think, when this word, “routine”, pops up?
For me, that depends. Some days, “routine” makes me light and happy, some days “routine” makes me heavy and tired.
It’s the sort of experience you can describe as “can’t live with it, can’t live without it”, you know what I mean?
It’s like traveling, only you travel at the same place, at the same pace, all the time. Wouldn’t it drive you nuts?
I’m ambiguous about routines. I know them from both sides. They have a comforting effect. They promise safety. You know where you’re going and what lies ahead…On the other hand, routines can be gray and boring and drive me crazy. They can make me fantasize about running away as far as I can and living a more adventurous life. But I stay. Because, I know. I know that no matter where I go, they will follow. Maybe in a different shape or form, but they will follow.
That’s what life is all about, isn’t it? We all need some sort of routine. It has the power to make us feel cozy and warm like a safety blanket, but a blanket can also choke you as well in your sleep.
About 15 years ago, when my life seemed to be in chaos, I craved for a routine. For something fixed in my life. I tried to adopt little habits, like eating the same salad for dinner, or a yogurt for an afternoon snack, whatever it was, just as long as I have a routine where I can find myself doing the same thing at the same time at the same place each day. Something I can expect and look forward to. A sure thing I can rely on. None of those little habits lasted more than 3-4 days. I ended up adopting a street cat.
Routine is a commitment. Whether you like or not. It can be an anchor when everything around is stormy. It makes you accountable to do something for yourself or for someone else. It is there, waiting for you. Like a pet. Like a child. Like a spouse. Like home.
So, you might as well choose your routines and make yours happy and colorful ones.
Like our morning routines, which go like this;
I wake up, wash my face, brush my teeth, (most of times) comb my hair, then I go to the kitchen. I turn the lights on, open the faucet and let water run for a few seconds while I take the milk out of the fridge. The same thought runs in my head, I always hope the kids will still be sleeping so I could have a few minutes of quietness to make each one’s drink. I pray to be able to take my first sip of hot (instant) coffee before the kids jump out of bed and start their non-stop chatter. They are so energetic.
Each of us has their own preference for a morning drink. I use the same cups to make warm chocolate milk for the little one but my boy changes his mind about his drink every day – he’s not a routine kind of guy, I guess – I make tea for the husb, and coffee for me (unless I’m sick, a non-routine, then it’s tea).
While waiting for the water to boil, I clear the dishwasher from ah, the dishes, we used for last night’s dinner. I open the fridge once again and take a peek, starting to plan the day’s lunch boxes. Then the guys come to the kitchen for breakfast.
I used to declare myself a non breakfast maker. Even to guests. Although I felt rude and inhospitable, I’d say I only make lunches and dinners but not breakfasts, each person is on their own. But here I am, each morning, standing in my PJ, making breakfasts and packing lunch boxes. The children ask for this or that. They command me. But I do encourage independency whenever possible. I feel like a helicopter in the kitchen. My head starts spinning and I need to sit for a minute.
After breakfast they fiiiiinnally leave.
Now, wouldn’t this drive you crazy?
Yes. And, no.
Because, just before they walk out the door I get kisses and hugs and it makes all this craziness worthwhile. Priceless.
It makes me fall crazy in love with my family.
We hug and kiss each other each and every morning, at the same time, at the same place, almost in the same way, every day.
It’s our morning routine.
(PS – This is a “Happy” post but I can’t even keep up with the title. I get bored after a while…)