I am a creature of habit. My life is very repetitive, very organized, and very scheduled. I use Google Calendar religiously, I mean, I think it may be becoming unhealthy. However, my habits and rituals help keep me on the track I want to be on. I love to stay busy, but being a busy person is unforgiving.
My rules are strict but straightforward: I clean up every mess I make as soon as I make it, I make my bed every morning, I vacuum twice a week, I sweep every day, I switch my sheets and wash them every Saturday, and I “deep” clean my apartment every Saturday as well. I say “deep” clean because it’s not really a deep clean. I keep my place so together during the week that a deep clean is never really necessary. Really, it just means that I dust and clean the inside of my stove and microwave.
I tried to live like this while I was at home, but I found it tricky; not everyone in my family wanted to adhere to my meticulous schedule. Now that I’m on my own, I really see these rituals as peaceful and productive ways to start my day and keep me sane.
Some people can live a transient lifestyle. I don’t mean the vagabond, gypsy, never-settle-down type of people, I mean the people who wake up in the morning not knowing what they’re going to do that day. Sometimes, those days can be fun and adventurous. Most days, though, I already know what I’m doing because I planned it out the night before. Today, I am cleaning my apartment, doing my laundry, going to a new cafe, taking a phone call, and spending time drinking coffee and getting some work done. It doesn’t sound like a demanding schedule, but a lot of work went into planning it.
I sometimes think I put too much effort into being spontaneous or exciting, ironically. I try to do new things in my free time, but end up stressing over how many new things I could do and eventually just settle on something safe and reliable. Today, for example, I really wanted to go to a new cafe, and it took a lot of convincing to actually do it. I am always thinking about money and how I spend it, so risking some cash on an unfamiliar restaurant or coffee shop is really a big decision for me. I almost decided on a bakery that I know has an amazing breakfast menu, but I pushed myself to do something different.
There are some benefits to rituals, such as organization and peace of mind, but there are also some downsides. Rituals can catch you in a cycle of comfort and perhaps keep you from making progress in your work or life. Just like everything, it takes balance to regulate how you use your rituals. Breaking away from your own self-sustained mold will open your mind to new opportunities and ideas. I hope you do something different today.