Creatures of Habit
I don’t know about you guys, but I like routine. I like to do things a certain way in a certain order, and tend to get a bit cross if I have to do things differently. This is, in part, because I have a rather fractured attention span; doing things in certain patterns helps me to remember to do things, period. It enables me to go on auto-pilot, making the most of times where I might be half-asleep or otherwise distracted; I consider this a good thing!
On the downside, however, I find that it discourages me from doing new things. I’m worried about say… if I were to go do X activity some Thursday, that I’d start doing it every Thursday, thereby shoehorning else something else on my routine. I do want to do new things, but I’m hesitant to add new things to my normal modus operandi. I know how lots of things can attach themselves to you in this manner; it seems innocuous, but before you know it, you’re late to salsa ’cause your regularly scheduled badminton match went overtime! And all that stuff that started out as fun is suddenly less fun, and instead, is eating a huge hole in your free time and sanity – oh teh noes. :O
Which is why, of course, I tend to avoid activities even if part of me really wants to get out there and do things. There’s also the fact that I’d say there’s a dearth of activities locally – I’m used to having big city choices, so small town options seem like rather slim pickings. I’m also limited by what I’m comfortable doing – I wouldn’t mind the occasional game of volleyball if I could find one, but I find using your child to socialize kind of gross… sort of like the concept of socializing with other people cause you both happened to spawn creeps me out. No, I don’t want mommy buddies; I am not that starved for company. But like, so completely and utterly turned off by the idea that I’m incredibly slow in making a concerted effort in finding a playgroup session my daughter can attend without missing her nap because I absolutely 500% don’t want someone talking to me just ’cause I too have a kid; yes, I’m sure that’s incredibly abnormal of me. *laughs* I don’t mind talking mom with friends who were friends pre-sprogging, sure, ’cause we had mutual interests before that. I know that if we disagree about how to raise children, we’re not going to throw huge wobblies at each other and *sigh* risk me having to deal with routine girl dramaz. I’ve spent most of my life avoiding having female friends ’cause of those, yo, and I’m not about to start in with them now. *grins*
But anyways, back to the point – how does one strike the balance between doing new things, and being buried under them? Perhaps if I keep asking myself this question, I’ll actually get to the doing phase, rather than just staring off into the distance speculating on it. But for this exact second, I probably should try to finish a few more minute’s worth of work before we go home. 😉 Have a lovely long weekend if you’re here in the UK, and if not… have a nice but not so long weekend?
I don’t like routine – my modus operandi is to do different things at different times and the way that I keep track of getting stuff done is via lists. And the lists are prioritised so that there are only ever a certain number that MUST be completed in any one day and there is always room to shift stuff around to allow for spontaneity. I know that you’re probably already twitching about this, but I think that your attachment to routine probably goes beyond a ‘normal’ level to the extent that you push yourself to accomplish tasks in every day that are not necessary to a healthy survival and provide a stress to yourself in doing so. The sky will not fall in if you don’t log in to one of your routine games, for example – whereas attending to the tiny one is a high priority. Making time for new things is going to result in having to let go of a tiny bit of routine. And you haven’t got to incorporate every new thing into your routine, it can be an occasionally enjoyed departure.
Taking your example, if I’m late to salsa because of overrunning badminton – who is harmed? Have I inconvenienced anyone other than myself? What are the consequences? And my answer to all of those is pretty much negative. The salsa would be happening whether I’m there or not. Both activities are purely for fun – why attach such terrific importance to them? They’re low priority, unlike making sure that my family are fed, clothed, housed and healthy. I think that by writing this out, my key thing has been prioritisation. You’re free to set your own priorities, and if doing something new is a priority, you’ll find something of lesser importance and substitute the time for it.
Although, there’s some research that suggests that your subconscious has a lot to do with the decision making process there, weighing up the pleasure/pain ratio. And knowing that your psyche is a fragile place, you might have the subconscious rationale that only by keeping to your routine can you hold it all together. I think that might be a powerful driver to you (did you know that there’s a strong theory that allergies are to do with a subconscious link your brain has made with something going wrong and assigning a cause-effect relationship that’s a fallacy and attacking the wrong vector?) and that addressing that with your health care process might be required before you can free yourself to do all the things you want to do? Again, this is spirit of discussion from me, I’m not telling you, diagnosing you or any other such arrogance. I’m just giving my perspective and thoughts for you to sift through, suggest further research paths and ponder upon.
Oh, there’s probably some validity to that, though there’s also the physical health factor to take in mind. I spent 13-27 and change with almost non-existent energy. I’m having to kind of slowly learn how to live, if you know what I mean. 😉 I’m glad to have the energy to do, but I don’t want to overdo – hence using two physically intense activities for an example!
Lists… I think most people know I’m fond of them.
As for the mental… I exhaust myself thinking about doing anything, ha ha. Once again, that’s a side effect of having been so relatively unable for years. So really, this is me attempting to talk myself into at least trying.
I’d question why you mention allergies, though. The hay fever hit me the same time I moved here; it took me a few years to figure out what the hell was going on. 😉
The allergies thing was only to demonstrate the power of the subconscious to be utterly out of our conscious control and the potential to make erroneous links. It’s by no mean proven, although hypnosis (reprogramming the subconscious) has had some success with some people in overcoming their problems.
Gah, forgot the other half of the comment I meant to make on allergies, ’cause I can actually think of an example that might correlate with that. I had swimming lessons at one time in my youth; my grandparents sprang for a coach for the lot of us grandkids and let her coax us through in the comfort of a pool we knew. I’m pretty sure it was after this I developed a rashy response to chlorine, which went away the year after that. I still like swimming all in, but I tend to get rather blinding headaches between the chlorine and the not having glasses on. 🙂