Routines – Good or Bad?

I tend to exist in two pools of thought. One pool is filled with rigor, structure, and routine. The other pool isn’t really a pool at all. It’s a free flowing river that allows for exploration, creativity, and flexibility. The river usually wins and guides my day-to-day.

Most of the resources I draw from talk consistently about habits and routines. It’s very difficult to develop healthy budget and spending habits if you don’t implement a routine because we are, gasp, creatures of habit. However, I have to often sit down and ask myself:

Does my life even have room for routine?

This seems silly, but more importantly, it seems backwards. Typically, after you develop a routine is when you start asking what can fit into your life. I suppose my brain just isn’t hardwired that way and I can’t assume I’m the only one. The challenge is to develop a plan of sorts that allows a flexible schedule but also promotes the development of healthy habits.

Here’s a sneak peak into the upcoming month-ish for me and just how variable things can get:

  • July 25th – August 8th: Germany/Vacation
  • August 16th: Bristol Renaissance Faire
  • August 23rd: Wizard World Chicago
  • August 24th: Distant Worlds Chicago
  • September 12-16th: San Francisco/Vacation
  • September 20th: BYOB Painting Date

This list of events is not including time for:

  • visiting parents (a 3 hour car or train ride, in which I typically stay for a weekend)
  • seeing boyfriend (we average seeing each other 2-3 times/week, but don’t obligate each other to limit or meet that amount)
  • if all goes according to plan, I’ll be starting grad school on September 22nd part-time
  • Full-time job
  • Fiverr/Freelance jobs/(possible part-time job to help pay off debt?)
  • Blogging/Digital Scrapbook Project
  • Personal Writing/Art Projects
  • Time for, you guessed it, Jenn!*

This type of life I live doesn’t have room for a routine. If you have a similar situation, I don’t think the answer is in trying to make all of this smoosh into a routine: it’s simply too restrictive to people like us and no matter how carefully we plan, we’ll be setting ourselves up for failure. Instead, look at your obligations (because, yes, these are what they are). Is there anything you can remove, trim down, or give up (or, really, SHOULD give up)? For me, August 23rd Wizard World is the one thing I could/should give up for a few reasons.

Next, look at what healthy things you want to implement in their stead? I want to implement less spending and more Jenn-time. In getting rid of Wizard World, I’ve eliminated some spending (major spending, really. Conventions are never cheap, folks. You’re look at at least $120 for a day, and that’s without spending any money in the dealer room OR hotel. And can we talk about costume costs? Ugh. My hobbies are expensive). Now, how can I implement more Jenn-time in this hectic lifestyle?

I’ve been feeling a vibration lately. It’s one that is telling me to get off my ass and do the things I keep saying I will one day. This includes yoga and Buddhism. Developing a yoga practice may be too much obligation right now, but I could begin the study of being present and mindful through meditation. Because my evenings are SO vast and variable (I never really know where I’ll end up most nights), the one thing in my routine that is stable is that I wake up in the morning (so far, cough…). The people I surround myself by would be understanding and loving enough to not bother me for a half-hour in the morning after we wake up. But, should it be before I shower? After? Before I eat? After? So many questions that are only answered through trial and error!

TL;DR

You don’t have to give up your freedom and flexibility for a routine:

Step 1. What are your obligations?
Step 2. What can you/should you get rid of?
Step 3. What goes in their stead?
Step 4. Implement and experiment through trial and error until the groove feels right.

 

Does anyone else have any grounding habits they enforce upon themselves in their hectic schedules?

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A Short Reminder or Two

The last few days I’ve been in a rough spot when it’s come to letting go of ego. Sometimes, we can find the most timely reminder even on Facebook.

To that end, I also offer another like-minded reminder: success is not determined by the amount of money in your bank account, how expensive your car is, or how big your home is. It’s not the things you have that define you, it’s what you do and the experiences you collect.

A Personal Note: Mindset and Spirituality

I tend to sprinkle in some things about my mindset and spirituality throughout my posts and in defining my values, but I think I owe it to myself to fully document what my mindset and spirituality actually looks like to date:

  • I’m a new-agey hippy type, not yet fully acclimated to or invested in movements like “sustainable living” or “intentional communities”. I do see myself fitting into those things very nicely when the time is right/when I decide the time is right. I also believe I’m not in the correct geographic location to fully live out this type of life right now.
  • When asked about my religion, I tend to say that I will be a Buddhist one day. For now, I’m working on simple breathing meditation and actively seeking opportunities for mindfulness while de-cluttering and simplifying on the material plane.
  • I actively (once a week) see a therapist. Our work together focuses on parts healing and me remembering who I am and what my truth is.
  • When asked the question, “Do you prefer to talk about big things that matter?” I responded with, “Well, let’s first start with what actually matters?”
  • I believe that we are souls and have bodies to host those souls in this life. I believe we all have a purpose, a truth that we must decipher and act out until this body deteriorates and we move onto the next one.
  • I am still very terrified of death, but I’m working on it. I recently read an essay that remarked sleep is a practice for death. This helps calm me down because sleep is one of my favorite things!
  • I try to act in kindness, especially in kindness to myself first and foremost. I have been in situations where I’ve not only been abused, but let myself be abused. I do not wish to live that life any longer.
  • I believe humans can benefit and advance more by asking “Why not?” instead of “Why?”
  • I don’t necessarily value being an entrepreneur. However, when I reach my freedom, I will only allow myself to work for someone or something that I fully support and see as being a benefit to the planet or society. If that someone is me and that something is a thing I developed, then so be it!

I’d like to extend this to anyone out there who may come across this post somewhere in the future. Someone very close to me spiritually, mentally, and physically offers this saying to me on an almost daily basis. You should take this kindness and give it to yourself:

You are great, and you’re getting better.