Routine but not boring.

It occurred to me today, sweating on the elliptical trainer at the gym over my lunchour, that the most useful thing I’ve learned about myself in the last year is that I require routine. Which sounds boring doesn’t it?  That to be truly happy, mentally and physically healthy, and productive – I need a regular and predictable schedule which doesn’t experience too many interruptions. But the fact it, I’m at my most creative and interesting when these conditions are being met.

That is, if I put writing into my schedule, I write. If set aside time for music practice, then I get down to it.  If the gym is part of my daily pattern, then I get in better shape. And once I routinize these things so they become second nature – not a question of choice – then I actually do them until I get better and better. Until I create more and more and get more skilled in the doing. Not only that, but without regular sleeping and eating patterns I tend towards depressiveness and lethargy in every area of my life.

This isn’t exactly new of course, but a self-awareness that has been years in the dawning. With all the unexpected meetings,  travel, and unpleasantness this autumn I have been reminded again how UNHAPPY I am in a state of flux. That while I accept there will always be shakeups and I am strong enough to weather them, I would rather be on one side or the other of a change. And as much as I celebrate the need for transformation in life – I do not necessarily like being in the liminal space.

Nor does it do my body any good, as the recent disruption to my gym and workout schedule proves. The last two weeks at regular work has allowed me to start at getting back in shape after a several month absence from fitness – and is helping to reinforce my decisions around choosing a life that is more home and routine centered over election and leadership centered (aka dropping back from my union). Which is much too chaotic for my mental and physical health. I’m not as resilient anymore, and I can see so much the effects of throwing my workouts into the grinder because  back-to-back meetings dominated my whole fall (not pretty, let me tell you!).

Taking this into the new year, I’m making priorities for activity and cutting out the stuff that makes my life too chaotic. I’m scheduling in music and writing again, I’m making the gym part of my daily existence. Not because I feel that I *have* to do any of these things, but because I miss them when I don’t. I miss being able to bust my fiddle out at a party, or having a grand project like a novel to work on, not to mention having a cuter figure…. And I want to eliminate the stuff that gets in the way of that. The “can you be on a plane to Ottawa tomorrow” phone calls, the constant feeling of having to be ready and of being exhausted in return. That much I can leave behind to enable order and productivity in my most joyous of endeavours.

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