Yes, that’s meant to be as contradictory as it sounds. In typical me fashion, I made my trip back to Michigan epic in my mind. I wanted to cram so many things into it. First of all, there’s all the “feel the feelings” crap I wanted to…well, feel…that I thought would be helpful to record for one of those memoirs I’ve been thinking and scribbling about (the college one, if you were dying to know). Secondly, there was the prospect of going through all of my old notebooks and papers, rediscovering all of my old stories, and possibly finding something that sparks my creativity again and is just begging to be written (that happened, in case you were wondering, but is an entirely different entry). At some point, I wanted to visit friends and old haunts, feel that weird double consciousness feeling where you’re as aware of how you were when you were there before as you are of how you are now in the same physical place. Ultimately, I was there to see my brother graduate and to take a vacation from routine.
We all need a break from routine every now and then, even if we LOVE routine. To be honest, I like to know what comes next. I like things to be going according to plan. I have even been known to like routine. I mean, I’m the person who gets the same meal from restaurants. Still, sometimes routine can become monotonous or even a rut.
I felt myself getting into a bit of a rut–in my writing, in my relationships, in this blog. Things were going along on autopilot. I got up, went to work, did the same thing I’d done the previous weekday, went home, continued watching the same television series I watched the day before, got ready for bed. I was past comfortable and content; I’d entered apathy.
Part of the reason I was so looking forward to this trip is because I was planning things again, trying to figure out how to squeeze everything into a jam packed schedule. But the best thing about the trip was the opportunity to come back with fresh eyes. Now, instead of just going to work as per usual, I was returning to work. I had to get back into the groove of how I did things.
The best thing about returning to a routine is that it’s like seeing it for the first time. With this fresh perspective, you can better identify things you want to change, things you need to add or take out of your normal routine. Now that you’ve stepped away from it and come back to it, you can better see some of the decay, the warts, if you will. If you want, you can develop a whole new routine! There’s something to be said, in any case, for fresh perspective.
It’s a lot like how I believe Bikram yoga to be. From what I’ve read, Bikram yoga utilizes the same flow, the same poses, each session. The goal, then, is to become better at holding the poses, then to be able to go deeper into the poses, stretching more, challenging yourself. Each class, you can decide whether you want to go for more or perfect where you are. Either way, you are improving, even though you’re doing the same old thing.
One day, I would love to wake up at six in the morning, eat breakfast, go for a run, then sit down to write. I would love to be in touch with my agent and editor, to do book tours, to facilitate discussions at book club meetings. I would love to give commencement addresses or talks about writing. I would love for my routine to be completely transformed. But I also know there’s some value in challenging myself to try to reach a little further and get a little bit better at my current routine. I may not be able to escape the 9-5 lifestyle, but I can escape the rut.
So, this morning, I’m embracing the thought of settling back into a new groove, smooth, well worn, but with twists and bends yet to be carved out.
P.S. I’m still accepting questions about love, dating and marriage for the Licensed Mental Health Counselor marriage kit interview this Saturday! Comment, tweet me (@2blu2btru), or email me at 2blu2btru4u[at]gmail[dot]com.