Routine — does it make or break a person?
I realized the other day that I live on routines. Pathetic, I know, but I never said I'm proud of this fact. But I do. I strive for schedules, skeleton plans and just the general idea that I know what I'm going to be doing the next day. And I especially need to know where I'm going to get money the next day so that I can eat.
I was privileged to hear a few people's views on this.
One said that routine makes a person responsible. Does it? Or does it merely teach a person to accomplish mundane tasks? Perhaps when you have a particular routine, you feel obliged to carry them out because you would feel that something is lacking at the end of the day. I know that I get all restless and uneasy when I skip out on something during my day — like putting on sun block (hey, people have coffee, I have sun block!). Even in taking a shower, I have a routine. I shampoo, I put on my moisturizing conditioner and leave it on while I scrub my body, wash my face and brush my teeth (yes, I brush my teeth in the shower). Then I will rinse off my conditioner. When I'm distracted, I end up shampoo-ing my hair twice and miss out on washing my face. And this completely messes up my whole day. Something like that. The same applies to the bigger things in life… like a daily (or even weekly) routine of doing the laundry, paying the bills, cleaning the house, etc. So maybe, yes, routine does make you responsible… and efficient!
Another said that routines make her unable to compromise… especially with the age factor coming in strongly every year. Because she's so used to doing her own thing having to take care of herself for a while now, she finds it more and more difficult to accommodate other people in her life. Ahem, difficulty in finding a life partner. Everyday, she has work, chores, errands and extra-curricular activities (like going to the gym, playing mah-jong and having drinks with girlfriends). She's simply resistant to change and doesn't think any man is worth having when it means sorting her life all over again. Her argument, “I'll change everything in my life and at the end of the day, he walks away. And I'm back from the start again. Might as well not do it at all.” Is this protecting oneself from emotions or a slight sign of selfishness? Of course, I'm in no position to judge her because I don't know the whole story. But routine must not get in the way of happiness… granting that the theory makes all aspects of life better, thus making a person happy.
The third one illustrates that routine gives his life a structure and direction. Without it, he gets lost — sounds a bit like me, really. On the other hand, he also counters that the absence of routine lets us enjoy spontaneity. I must admit that there are people who live by “going with the flow.” Bless their souls as I've proven to myself that this concept is actually easier said than done. Blame my wary nature for it. There are (rare) times when I'm on holiday and I just refuse to make any commitments and schedules. This is because I want to deviate from my day-to-day life of subjecting myself to routines… and for once, be able to do things impulsively. I also use the “I'm too lazy to plan” bit to excuse myself on a more truthful manner. But I've discovered that I can only stand doing this for three days — tops! I then find myself asking “What do I do tomorrow? What am I to do later?” Believe it or not, I get bored of not planning. You can certainly take a girl out of her routine but you can't take the routine out of a girl.
I, however, would like to point out that sticking to a routine doesn't necessarily equate to inflexibility. I usually say that I'm not terribly fussy (speaking in relative terms, of course). I constantly try out new things… and if I like them, then maybe I'll include them in my routine. And I have no problems moving blocks of time around my little organizer (“I don't care when or what time I'm going to church this weekend; I just need to go”). There are people who just dislike interrupting their routines even though it means making things more inconvenient to other people. I absolutely hate people like that.
I hope they all get cancer.
Routines aren't necessarily bad… as long as it doesn't rule your life. Or else it will eventually destroy your life. It's good to be kept busy on a daily basis but let's not forget to appreciate the finer things in life. There is life outside our lives… we ought to explore them once in a while.
So to answer the question: Routines will break you if it's the only thing that makes you.
Routine — does it make or break a person?