The Danger of Routine
Whenever I go to Starbucks I order: a grande caramel frappuccino with extra caramel, because I don’t want to end up with a drink I don’t like. Whenever I go to Dunkin Donuts I order a medium caramel iced latte. I order a medium every single time despite the fact I know I won’t finish it. Everyday I go through the same routine: I sleep until two hours before I have to go to work, I waste the morning away on Twitter, get dressed, make lunch and head to work. When I get home I waste more time on Twitter, eat dinner, watch Grey’s Anatomy, eat some more, browse twitter and stay up later than I should.
Routines. They’re our comfort zone. They’re where we feel safe, they’re where we know exactly what we want and how we want it, so we’re not disappointed. Routines, for the most part, are good. They keep us on track, making sure we don’t procrastinate or lose sight of our priorities. Routines give us a reason to get out of bed in the morning when we'd rather lay snuggled up with a good book and our morning cup of coffee. Routines remind us of our responsibilities and how little time we have each and every day to accomplish every single task.
On the contrary, routines can hinder our growth. No, not physically, but rather spiritually, mentally and emotionally. My grandmother is a devout Catholic. She moved here from Ireland when she was only 22 years old, in order to get further in her career as a nurse. She made a life for herself with both a career and a family, marrying my grandfather and becoming a mother to my own Mom and Aunt. After having lived here, in America, for over 60 years she has certainly grown accustomed to the lifestyle and adapted to the customs and traditions as an American citizen. Having grown up in a Catholic household and having been taught religious beliefs and values of a different time however, she is incredibly set in her ways. It's not the easiest task in the world to introduce to her new concepts or changes in teachings that were instilled in her from childhood.
Routines protect us from disappointment and feeling unsatisfied, but they also give us a lack of experience. My other grandmother has this famous saying whenever the family gets together "How do you know you don't like it if you've never tried it?" I have a consistent order from Starbucks and Dunkin to avoid being letdown. However, in my attempt to maintain my consistent sense of contentment, I'm simultaneously inhibiting myself from being introduced to the world around me. It's perfectly okay to have a favorite order from Starbucks and even an everyday cycle as long as you give yourself the opportunity for change.
Although our routine seems harmless, it's labeled "routine" for a reason. You don't stray from the ordinary. There are no surprises and therefore no expectation for failure or the possibility of being left unhappy. This also leaves little to no room for you to evolve. By sticking to what we know, we're living ignorant lives. In this day and age, where the world around us is constantly developing new ways of thinking and establishing advanced learning techniques, it is inherently necessary for us to go through continual waves of adaptment. In order to do so, we must be eager to flourish alongside the environment we inhabit. When we allow ourselves to take a step outside of the world we know onto the path of the uncharted and the unfamiliar, we're giving ourselves the best present we will ever receive. As frightening as it is to dive into the plunder of the diverse, it's also enlightening and worth discovering.
We have to be willing to open the door to experience when it comes knocking because we never know if it will return. We can't let the fear of failure or the possibility of rejection rule how we go about our everyday. Taking risks doesn't always mean quitting our job and buying a plane ticket for the next flight out. Sometimes straying from routine means changing our order at Starbucks, or taking a new route home from work. Change doesn't have to be a life altering decision, what matters is the ways in which we allow that change to open our eyes to a world of incredible possibility.
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