The Routine Monster


Routine is a funny little beast. It chuckles with mirth when you’re so devoted to it that the thought of stepping out of the box makes you tremble in fear. Silly little monster that routine is, it likes to trick you into thinking that you could just up and abandon it whenever you please. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case for creatures of habit like myself. Little innocent routine can take over and take hold, covertly tying your hands behind your back.

It could be a function of my individual personality, the devotion to routine, but I feel that I’m not the only one who finds comfort in cuddling with the routine monster. Why else would people turn down an outing on the Thursday night because that’s when they always, without fail, watch Grey’s Anatomy?! While you could label that refusal as a strange addiction to the television, I’d argue that in fact the very routine of sitting down at 9 o’clock every Thursday evening to gaze at McDreamy is the addiction. After all, there is such thing as a PVR.

Ironically, routine is quick to form, and so change should really not be as big of an issue as it seems. After a few days of canoodling with a new routine, old routine can be dumped like yesterday’s lover. Painlessly enough, you’ve begun a new whirlwind affair with routine number 2. So why, I wonder, do I still shudder in the face of a changewind?

This fear and this hesitation to change is, I think, the danger of becoming too attached to a routine. It can prevent one from taking steps toward a new beginning, a new path. Despite the redeeming qualities of the new experience, it might seem too overwhelming to step out of the arms of routine and emerge into the great beyond. Similarly to leaving behind any addiction, routine can entrap and individual and catatrophize, create reasons why it is comforting and safe. When you listen to the addiction, it might make sense at first. But, like with any addiction, it is important to challenge its false reasoning. For the routine monster doesn’t consider the cons and the pros of the alternative- it merely grabs hold of the possible negative consequences of exploration and plays them on repeat in your head.

I’ve often fallen victim to the paralyzing venom of the routine monster. I’ve let it trap me in negative cycles, ever engaging in activities merely because “it’s just what I do”. Today, I find myself still enamored of this beast, but questioning it’s validity. I think that even just questioning routine is to make a small victory against it. Eventually, I hope to embrace a creature of a different kind. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be brave and strong enough to have a tryst with the sponaneity sasquatch.

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One Response to The Routine Monster

  1. Jennifer Cantlon says:

    I hope the spontaneity sasquatch is as cute!

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