I think the biggest thing that happened to me in the last year is that, for the first time in my life, I finally fell into a routine.
I wake up, pack my lunch, go to work, eat my lunch, finish work, go to the gym, make dinner, and sleep. On the weekends, I do some combination of watching Netflix and making ten trips to Target.
I do have to say that there is something wonderful about reaching a point in your life where you no longer find yourself crying in the back of a college library while shoveling your third Snickers bar down your throat.
While the stress-free part is nice, there is a definite downside. See, the thing no one told me about routine, is that routine causes complacency and complacency is contagious.
Before this previous year, my life was always a messy jumble of jobs, hobbies, and school. With a life attention span of a fly, I have always flitted between all of these things with ease. Being busy and engaged with all of the things that interest me was sometimes crazy, but never dull.
When I switched to my new schedule, the complacency started off almost unnoticeably. A never-ending excitement and energy that I’ve always had began to dwindle. I used to write a short story a week. Ideas would come to me in the middle of the grocery store and I would pull out my phone to type notes right there and then. Then, as I settled into my routine, the ideas came less often. Now, I haven’t written a story in at least 6 months.
Similarly, it used to be impossible to stop me from music-ing. Even my husband would tell you that sometimes it was too much. Now, the layer of dust on my guitar case is embarrassing and a long-forgotten YouTube channel haunts me from afar.
I’ve recently started wondering why it’s been so simple for me to give up the things that have always meant so much to me. I think it’s because when you find a system that feels easy and comfortable, it becomes ten times harder to push yourself. The mistake is that, while where I am at is fine, it’s not where I want to be. My routine pays my bills and gets me through to the weekend, but it doesn’t make my heart pound.
When people ask me who I am, I don’t want to be a technical writer, or a lunch packer, or a gym goer.
I want to be a writer and a musician and a good friend who actually makes the effort to keep up with people instead of staying in all weekend.
I always want to have a different answer to the question “So, what have you been up to lately?”
So my new year’s resolution is to fall back in love with the things that push and motivate me as a person. Now, I’m not saying I’m going to quit my job, live out of the back of a van, and play the harmonica for money or anything. I just want to make some small changes.
I want to remind myself that I am not easy. I’m still made up of the same million complicated and impatient pieces as I’ve always been. Now, I just have a little more structure to hold them all together.
I also need to spend time working at the things I love. Everyone knows that love takes care and nurturing. It’s easy to feel complacent towards anything if you don’t take the time to let it be part of your life.
So here’s to a 2017 full of love and routine. I like the way I am, but I think I could be better if I opened myself back up to the world beyond my new structure.
Doing my 9 to 5 makes me feel accomplished, but pursuing the things I love makes me feel alive.