Random Observation/Comment #112: I don’t like routines, but sometimes they’re necessary and I’ve come to accept that. The comfort in my particular routines root from the pleasure of knowing that I had tried most alternatives and settled on a path that balances time and energy towards these uncontrollable moments of commute. Everything has been made to, what I refer to as, “dynamically efficient.” I not only choose the best path for a regular walk, but I also accordingly adjust paths due to delays, detours, or even my mood (woopty-freakin’-doo, so does everyone else in the world). Well, I just wanted to point it out…
The battle between security and adventure has been my main internal conflict for the past few years. I’ve been torn left and right thinking about my threshold of risk-taking. In no way do I want to live a “life on the edge,” looking for the next conquest, but then again, I don’t want to always follow the same routine in a boring life. So where is the balance? How can I fool myself into being happy with repetition?
When I was “on the road” (so to speak), I looked at everything around me like a five-year-old toddler. I asked random questions in my mind and to the closest person next to me throughout the entire trip to get the full experience. It was the complete submersion in a different culture that kept me interested. From aspects as obvious as their foreign tongue, to the less noticeable mannerisms at meals, I was fascinated. My mind also had that “observation mode” toggled on record and analyze, which has recently become increasingly more difficult to locate.
I live in one of the greatest cities in the world (if not The greatest city), surrounded by skyscrapers and mom & pop shops on every corner, yet I don’t obsess with my camera and I don’t memorize all those useless facts to the same detail as when I was in Japan. The city that never sleeps is a concrete creature with its own heart, mind, and soul. The energy can be found in every buttered bagel or coffee, and these miniscule everyday incidents contribute to a city of adventures beyond my imagination. It’s the familiarity that manipulates me, but it’s also the same familiarity that comforts me.
Before I offer my solution on how to keep life a little more interesting, I want to reflect on this desire to remove myself from repetition. Doing the same thing every day and week is perfectly fine for people who want to control their life in whichever way possible, but for me, life loses its lustrous color and vivacious strokes. Surprises are – well – unexpected, which floods my mind with planning compulsions. It’s a high pressure situation when you’re put on the spot, and in my mind, it leads to a lot of stress. However, just because I don’t like too many surprises, doesn’t mean I want to follow the zombie crowds. I like trying new things, but they must be within my branch of choices. I’ve planned the “next level” to have a larger variation of routines. They’re all safe and preapproved by me, and it’s up to my whatever-mood to pick. This is how I’ve stayed sane while maintaining my anal tendencies. I suggest mixing it up a bit to keep the mind sharp, and to see the world large and mysterious.
- Try different restaurants. Stop going to the same place for lunch and dinner even though it’s incredibly delicious. Exploration increases your opinions of places.
- Try writing a journal. It only takes a few minutes to jot down a few thoughts about the day. It doesn’t have to be well written, but if you read it later, you’ll definitely be glad these moments in your life exist. Even if it’s writing down one thing you learned today, you’ll have 365 random facts in a year.
- Read a different genre. If you like reading, try a different genre or go out on a limb and read a trashy romance novel.
- Try to learn a musical instrument. If you played an instrument when you were younger, try to pick it up again. If you didn’t, maybe there’s something easy you can practice like an ocarina from the iPhone app.
- Keep the iPod diverse. Music is so relaxing, but the same songs over, and over, again melts my brain.
- Learn a new language. Was there a language you just wish you could pick up? Wouldn’t it be nice to know Mandarin when those 1.2 billion people in China start to take over the world? Pick up an audio-book and listen to a lesson everyday during the commute.
- Take a different route. If you have time, walk or drive a different way to work. Clear your head with another radio station or take a peaceful stroll to organize priorities.
- Taste-test wine. This will not work for alcoholics or non-alcoholics, but I remember when I bought a $15 bottle every two weeks to try out different wines.
Sometimes catching up on sleep on the train is nice, but I find that most of the time my mind is blank or drifting in odd directions. I guess I keep thinking this way because I never want to lose that desire to learn and absorb new things. Maybe I should narrow down my list and just work on my strengths. Being a well-rounded person takes so much effort. If you take anything out of this, it should be that life is beautiful and we should all do everything to see every corner of it (it’s probably a circle).
The list was geared towards those who are trapped in a routine. If you have free time, I’m sure you could come up with a much larger list of hobbies. Best of luck, Mr/Mrs Nine-to-five.
~See Lemons Learn to Live