Allow me to explain why you are ruining my life. I married a woman who has a bedtime routine that includes having the television on until she’s ready to go to sleep. It helps slow down all of her otherwise racing thoughts and ideas and questions from the day. It’s important to her. It’s also important to me. Primarily because it means that she won’t keep waking me up to ask questions about our schedules for the week or where we should go for vacation in 2014. Frasier, do you know what it is like to get to that point where you are on the verge of tranquil, restful sleep? The point where your thoughts begin to blur into a fog and your body is completely relaxed and comfortable and you know at any moment you will be immersed in peaceful, soothing unconsciousness. Do you know that feeling? I used to know that feeling. You have taken it from me Frasier. You have stolen my pre-sleep routine. How, you ask? How have you done this? Well, let me explain further. As previously stated, Erin requires time to unwind from the day and has developed a routine of watching mindless sitcoms to do so. For a while it was The King Of Queens, then it was Everybody Loves Raymond. You see Frasier, the key to finding the right show for this ever so crucial time slot is that it has to be entertaining, but not too entertaining. You have to like it enough that you can watch it and not be angry but not so much that you can’t just fall asleep in the middle. This is where you come in. We recently discovered reruns of your show on the “Hallmark” network. By the way, I can’t imagine how terribly proud you are that your show now airs on a network that still shows Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Anyway, we thought that your show would fit well into this corner of our lives. We welcomed you into our home Frasier, and look what you have done to us. Your witty, off-beat humor has made it impossible to go to sleep. I can’t escape your strange and unpredictable plotlines. Every time I try to roll over and go to sleep, I am drawn back in by a clever quip. Every night I have struggled and fought against your power and have lost. I have stayed up until after midnight every night since we allowed you, your quirky family and that cursed little terrier into our lives. You are destroying my evening routine and wreaking havoc on my mornings. What did I do to you Frasier? What did I do to deserve this?
A Concerned Viewer of Late Night Syndicated Comedy
Lately my morning and evening routines have been in shambles and it’s caused me to do some thinking. So, here’s a few thoughts on routines:
Why we love rountines?
I think we love routines because they make us feel like we’re in control of something. So much of our lives is ultimately controlled by outside circumstances that it gives us a sense of stability and comfort to know that there is something that is predictable and controllable in our lives, even if it’s as simple as a cup of coffee and the morning news. That’s probably why small changes in our routines affect us so much. Every time we’ve moved into a new house or apartment I experience this feeling of disorientation that creates frustration, discouragement and a lack of focus for the first couple weeks. I think most of it is due to the loss of my morning routine, which persists until I unpack all of the stuff necessary to reestablish stability and predictability to those hours. I’m not even going to mention what having kids does to your routine. Let’s just say, you’ll need new rountine once you have kids. The old ones don’t usually fly.
Why we should identify them?
I think it’s a good practice to occasionally look at your life and identify what your routines actually are. Sometimes we have developed certain routines that we’re not even aware of. It may help you find out why you’ve been a jerk lately. Maybe you’ve developed a routine that you’ve grown dependant on and have somehow violated it without realizing it ever existed.
Why we should evaluate them?
While having a routine isn’t bad, in and of itself. You may find that some of them put you in a negative frame of mind, are unsustainable at this stage of your life (leaving you constantly frustrated) or are just not the best use of your time. Maybe there are some adjustments that you need to make.
Why we should break them?
This is my favorite…. Intentionally breaking free from your normal routine can be a great way to shake things up. I once read a blog by a remarkably creative artist who mentioned that when he has a major creative project to do he will take a different route to work or go get breakfast or coffee somewhere new. Something… anything different, simply to break up the otherwise predictable routine. Apparently, there’s some science behind this. Somehow it throws your brain into a different mode of thought and starts up all sorts of creative processes that were otherwise sleeping through your auto-pilot routine. I’ve tried this many times and it has always been successful.
Overall, I think routines aren’t so bad, they can help bring a good sense of balance in our life. Although it’s good every now and then to be reminded just how little of your life that you can actually control. It keeps us humble and grateful. It combats the ever-present temptation to think that we are God, or at least that we don’t need God.
I know this was very different from how I usually write and what I usually write about. But I figured I’d break up the routine this week.