I run my life to routine. It hasn’t always been this way. I would have prided myself in not having a routine, being spontaneous I would have called it in all likelihood, going with the flow. As a former hippy, flower power generation (that dates me) that was what it was all about wasn’t it?
About six years ago a spontaneous, spur of the moment action resulted in my meeting someone who became my mentor in, frankly, all areas of my life. I have mentioned before how I procrastinated. Something I have to acknowledge was true, yet I was not aware that I did. My mentor, for the sake of this post let’s give her a name, “my mentor” feels clumsy. I will call her Nesta. Nesta pointed this out to me on many occasions until the penny dropped. What I had considered careful consideration, you cannot make a decision without careful consideration can you, was indeed procrastination about making any decision. If you consider something for long enough there is a good chance there will no longer be a need to make the decision.
So Nesta imposed routines. Times for when everyday things needed to be done, for writing a diary, for exercise generally imposing some discipline into my chaos. Strangely from the nature of our relationship I was very grateful for Nesta’s input that she should care enough to want to do this. How did this work out? I can honestly say it has been really good, and would not change it. I would waste so much time and not even know it. I have grown and developed in so many ways. One way which really cannot be ignored is that I transitioned. No more faffing about, no more I don’t want to hurt this person, I might not be able to earn a living etc, etc, always a reason not to yet I had known for years I was trans, I had been secretly taking phyto -oestrogens to try and stay sane but no, this wasn’t the right time. There isn’t ever a right time I have discovered.
In terms of decision making Nesta has shown me, just make a decision. Some say that there is no such thing as a good or bad decision. Decisions have different consequences some of which may appear, with hindsight, better or worse so therefore potentially a good or bad decision. No decision ends up in paralysis in my experience. I was away visiting Nesta a couple of weeks ago and my routines were suspended for a week as I was on “holiday”. The only routine continued was a mantra I use daily. What did surprise me on my return home was how important it was for these routines to be back in place. At first, I felt really quite at sea.
One of those routines is to put time aside on Mondays to post a blog. If it was left to me to feel the muse I have no idea when a post might get written. To make sure I stay on top of my work I prepare a list in the morning setting out what I need to do if possible on the day. I check back from time to time to make sure I have not overlooked anything. Monday’s list contains “post blog”, except this week it didn’t. The blogs are always written spontaneously (alright, I realise that is self-evident), writing what comes to mind when I sit down in front of the keyboard. It is usually just triggered by stuff going round in my head.
As is this one, not on Monday’s list, no blog written. I am disappointed with myself. Spontaneously it has caused me to look at how important they are to me in getting things done and I am so grateful for Nesta’s input in sorting out my previous desultory approach to life. It would not surprise me without Nesta’s input if I was still just thinking about transitioning. By taking decisions I have found my authentic self, stopped hiding from who I am to simply try and live the best life I can. It takes time I am still sorting out “difficulties” in my work where procrastination, drift, allowed projects to stagnate.
For me routines are not limiting. Routines are a tool enabling me to be more effective, giving me more time to live to be spontaneous.