Summer Rerun--Routine or Rut-ine?

August 25, 2014

Note: I'm taking a more relaxed approach to blogging this summer, so occasionally I'm going to rerun a previous post. I hope you enjoy this one, from 2010.

I was standing in the shower, puddle of body wash in one hand, nylon pouf in the other when I remembered that I hadn’t yet put the John Frieda glaze in my hair. This glaze requires three minutes of time on the hair to do its job, according to the packaging, and therefore during my shower, it must go on before the body wash step for it to have that time. My mind had been elsewhere, apparently, because OMG! I’ve already reached body wash stage and I HAVEN’T YET PUT THE GLAZE IN MY HAIR!

Armageddon. (This is what it’s like to be me.)

(Let me back up and explain the importance of the JF glaze in my life. My hair is thick and coarse, and the minute it detects any humidity in the air, it doubles in size like a frightened cat. Let me remind you I live in Florida, and it’s a rare day when the humidity isn’t detectible. Using this glaze helps keep my hair under at least partial control.)

So I stood there in the shower, debating—put down the pouf, put the glaze in my hair and hope I leave it on long enough, even though I’ve clearly missed the ideal moment? (I’ve never actually timed the process, so maybe I NEVER leave it in long enough, who knows?) Do I skip the glaze altogether? (Nope, today I’m running errands and going out to dinner so the hair needs all the anti-frizz help it can get).

Routines can be helpful, essential, even. Routines and habits offer comfort and stability. Having a routine to deal with daily tasks can often speed them up and make you more efficient. I can shower, dry my hair, put on makeup, dress and be out the door in half an hour (on a good, non-glaze-dilemma day) and routine is what enables me to do that. Laundry and cleaning have their routines. Without them, I’d be buried in filth.

Many small and sometimes unnoticed routines add pleasure to the day. They become rituals that add to the beauty of life. I spend the first half-hour of my day with coffee, a few bites of scone or muffin, and a notebook and pen. I love this ritual and find it centers me before I begin to work.

Routines can become ruts, however. Ruts can make you feel bored, trapped, or locked into a certain path and unable to alter the course of life. (Or they can leave you feeling plain silly while you stand in the shower with body wash dripping down your arm.)

It pays to examine routines now and then to see if they still serve you, or to see if you’ve become slave instead of master. My shower/glaze moment reminded me that I’m in charge of my routines, not the other way around. It’s also possible you’ve stuck with a routine that has become outdated—your life has changed, but your routine hasn’t, and maybe it should.

Also, occasionally stepping outside routine makes life more interesting and exciting, keeping routines from becoming ruts. You might change anything from the route you take to work to the day you do your grocery shopping. Order a different sandwich at your favorite lunch spot…or choose another lunch spot altogether. Listen to a different type of music, read a magazine you wouldn’t normally pick up, or stop into that little antiques store you keep promising yourself you’ll visit. Maintain the routines that keep your life humming along, but also do something “different” every week—or even every day!

Now I’m off to take a shower…and I won’t forget the glaze.

What are some of your favorite routines? What rut(s) would you like to escape from? What small change can you make to liven up your life?

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  1. Dear Kathy - this post is right up my alley. I am very goal oriented and certainly a routine person. In order to step into the more creative side though it is necessary for me to do something new and preferably each day (not that I always get to or allow myself)in order to find the artist within. Thanks for this re-run - I had not yet found your blog - so glad you chose this post to share again. Hugs - have a Happy Day! P.S. I find the same problem when I color my hair with the creme rinse - five minutes is a very long time to stand in the shower and hope I left it on long enough (LOL)!

  2. I'm also glad to see your re-run which I hadn't read. I love my morning routine which is similar to yours. I also like to pick up & sort of refresh my living space for the new day. Routines don't come naturally to me so I have to work at making them, and then they help me a lot. So, breaking out of them isn't a challenge for me, it's maintaining them that is.

  3. Debbie--Isn't that the longest five minutes EVER?! :) Glad you enjoyed the rerun.

  4. Rita--I think I'm like you--I can't seem to stick to any routine other than my morning one described here. I start off with good intentions, and find that after a day or two, I'm distracted somehow. I think I'd get more done with less fuss if I could stick to more routines.

  5. Hi Kathy! I do know what you mean by a shower routine and leaving in the conditioner, lol. I really enjoy having routines, but sometimes I get bored with them.

    I quit my job 2 weeks ago and have been busing getting our house cleaned and organized, and I suppose that after all that is done I will go back to my old pre-work routine of blogging and writing, etc.

    Kathy M.

  6. Kathy--You're right in the middle of a change of routine, arent' you? Hope you enjoy your newfound free time!