Tuesday, January 27, 2015

On Routine And A Rebel Heart

Is a snow day ever a bad idea?
My Ohio friends will laugh; yes, this is
our snow day snow.

I don't think so.

I'm not sure how it goes for the rest of you, but my heart leaps at any change in routine. I like change. I like it in big ways and in small ways. It's not always painless, but I receive change as a welcome change to mix things up, gain a new perspective, get out of a rut.

And by rut, I mean pretty much anything that I have to do more than two days in a row.

I struggle with routine, probably because I'm so wired for change. I have a hard time sticking to a gym schedule. I don't do laundry on the same day every week; I don't shop for groceries on a regular schedule. I don't go to bed or get up at the same time every day.  Routines work well for me when they are imposed from the outside, but internally? I'd rather go with the flow.

This is not necessarily a good thing. For sure, there are benefits; it's easy for me to be flexible. Spontaneous ideas work for me.

But I'm easily distracted, and most of the time I feel the hulking shadow of discipline lurking over my shoulder, just out of reach. I know it's there, and I know I should acquiesce, but I just don't want to. In those moments, I feel like a three-year old throwing a temper tantrum.

Don't tell me what to do!

You're not the boss of me!

(I wonder: Who am I talking to?)

When I think about such things in such a way, I realize that there is probably something underneath the surface that ought to be teased out. A good counselor would probably help. Or maybe I'll get there, eventually, by peeling back the layers of How I Behave to find out Who I Am - which, in my humble opinion, is the greatest question of spirituality on this side of heaven. Who am I, really? And what is this rebellious spirit that presents itself as anti-routine and 'spontaneous' - all the while rooted in an immature refusal to follow the rules?

Sigh. Deep sigh. One day I'll figure it out.

I loved teaching school, but my least favorite thing was the bell schedule and that pesky little requirement that we start on time, every day. For that reason, I wasn't necessarily the best teacher in the building. I'm grateful for the structure imposed on my weekly routine by my work - meetings, groups, Sunday-every-seven-days. Without it, I'd probably wander from room to room, aimless - creative, thinking deep thoughts, spontaneous, to be sure. But probably not very effective.

On a day like today, the news is sweet - even a 5AM phone call announcing the delay of school is welcome, because I can crawl back into bed, or settle into the couch with a blanket and the morning news in the background with the sweet, special knowledge that today will be different.

Perhaps my youngest son is somewhat like me; apparently the routine of putting on shoes before going outside went out the window today.


1 comment:

annie said...

Oh, dear. I have that same "problem" with routine. I sometimes want so badly to be more disciplined (regimented!) but then again, there are good things about being flexible too.