What A Routine Hiatus Taught Me About Life
As some of you might have noticed, I haven’t been actively posting for going on two weeks now. That isn’t to say I don’t miss it and that for any writer, making it a part of your daily regimen is necessary, but what its absence did for me is worth sharing.
I will start by disclosing the reason for the hiatus: self-care and quality time while in good company. You see, for many of us, we make our work a priority in our lives, and with this, we oftentimes find ourselves abandoning our sources of passion in order to cater to a work/life balance — a balance we rarely ever find. So when I initially planned for back-to-back week-long trips to visit a good friend of mine, I made it a point to vocalize how I ‘didn’t want anything in my routine to change’ and while his company wasn’t the source when it came to my change in plans, it created a fundamental shift in my mind as to what was really necessary for me in those moments.
At any point throughout any given day, it is easy to guess what I might be doing; this being due to my consistency and devotion towards routine. I eat the same breakfast and lunch every day while only introducing variance to my meal around dinnertime. I teach online from 2a to 9a every morning before getting a brief workout in followed by a shower. I then have lunch no later than 10:30a, make my honey almond milk latte by 11a, finish eating by 11:30, and begin my daily reading and reading exercises starting at 11:45a. After completing my reading and associated activities, I complete somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes of brain exercises. Next, I take my dog for her first walk of the afternoon and return home to crack open my laptop and being my writing for the day. After my writing has been posted and shared, I will watch a few lectures before completing the associated exams and discussions for the Medical Neuroscience class I am currently enrolled in.
As you can see, I am a creature of habit nearly to a T — so much so that any situation that poses a threat to its fulfillment gives me tremendous anxiety. I wouldn’t say I am boring or predictable; however, the way I choose to live my life on a daily basis doesn’t leave much room for surprises on my own accord.
How Seeking Isolation Can Contribute to Personal Development
Sometimes, a little time alone is really all you need.
Though my friend and I both knew the importance of routine and order in my life, the universe had an obvious disagreement. As the first day began to come to an end, I realized I hadn’t written a single word, read a single page, or completed a single exercise, yet when I reflected on the events of the day, I was okay with it. Why? Because I realized all of the things that I had done — things I rarely make time for with my other activities. I had cooked not only two meals, but dessert to follow. I had watched an entire movie in one sitting for the first time in nearly 6 months. I engaged in thought-provoking discussions with my friend and learned more about his life than I have ever known about any other person’s and the trust necessary to do so is invaluable. I might have ‘lost’ a day’s worth of writing, an hour’s worth of exercise, and deviated from clean eating a little, I gained insight into what matters to me most and in doing so, allowed for the content I felt my writer’s block had been keeping from fruition for weeks. We shared laughs, secrets, and moments of tremendous emotional intimacy. I felt accomplished.
As the next day approached, I realized I didn’t regret the break in routine and rather encouraged its challenge going forward. I focused more on the moment than I did the time of day and adopted an ‘I will get to it when I feel most compelled’ (not necessarily motivated, but drawn to its completion). I was pleasantly surprised to find that the next day, I still cooked, watched a movie, and had more genuine discussions; however, the most satisfying part of the entire day was realizing that even in the midst of rebel from my regular schedule, I ended up both reading and completing my brain exercises at different points throughout the day. I let the wheels turn in my mind in the direction of the things I’d like to write about next and the topic I want to build an outline for a book around.
This went on for the duration of the two weeks. The conclusion of each day validated the importance of time and the need to spend each moment enveloped in the things and with the people who make you feel most alive. Had I of kept up with the routine, despite finally bridging the 170-mile gap between my friend and I, we likely wouldn’t have held such necessary discussions. I wouldn’t have decided on my true passion when it comes to my career, but instead denied myself a boatload of belly-laughs and dancing in the kitchen at 3a.
So while I encourage you to remain accountable when it comes to your long-term goals, I would dare to say a brief hiatus might serve you well. You will soon realize the things that are most important and necessary to your existence, will still find a way in amidst the spontaneity.