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Why routine is my frenemy

I had a baaaad printing day yesterday. I made so many silly mistakes, messed up so many shirts. My head was fuzzy, and my heart was just not in my work. It was a thoroughly unproductive day.
I think all the many, many snow days have thrown me off. Last week was like this: one day of work, two days with the kids, one day of work, the weekend – maddening! I understand why my four year old cried so much when he had to leave for school yesterday, it’s difficult to get used to anything with so much stopping and starting. When it comes to work, routine is all.
Wait, did I just say that??

Routine is supposed to be the enemy.
I have been known to say on more than one occasion that I dislike routine. I get stuck in a rut easily, and thrive on being spontaneous. I go out of my way to keep having new experiences, and avoid a repetitive, homogeneous life. I know this keeps my brain on the edge, it keeps me creating. In fact, I’ll wager pretty much all of my friends in the Arts feel this way.

One of my heroes, Debbie Harry, said it so well when she  talked about getting older in the Telegraph recently:

“If you stay creative, interested and open to new things, you won’t stagnate. “You have to look around, keep new influences coming in. A lot of people sort of pick a world to live in, and they’re comfortable in that – which can be disastrous.”

I don’t want to pick a world, or a routine, to live in.
However, over the past few weeks I have realized that I actually do rely an alarming amount on routine. The nitty-gritty of my life hangs on routine, I need it in order to do all the unpredictable things that I do. I call it (somewhat predictably) The Routine Paradox, ie: if you keep a strict dinner/bed/bath routine with your kids, they go to bed earlier. Then, once they are asleep, you have time to work on that crazy huge canvas in your bedroom (supposedly).

Routine has been my friend, my ally, in my quest to not be so routine:

– My tea routine.
I make myself tea every day, yet I do not always drink it. The actual act of making the tea is a way of signifying the start or end of an activity to me. I make a mug of tea to tell myself that it is time to start my work day. I make tea in the afternoon to signify that it is time to take a break and do something else.

– Exercise.
Without a gym routine, I would just melt into mush on my sofa and do nothing. It’s a cliche, I know, but the more I stick to my work out routine, the more motivated I am to actually get things done in other parts of my life.

-Kids.
It’s pretty hard being a parent without embracing routine with both arms. You try getting two kids through homework, dinner, bath, and bedtime without turning into a drill sergeant. Routine, routine, ROUTINE! I’m shouting it from the rooftops here.

As for screen printing, I’m taking a break from it today in order to do some lesson planning for the camps. I’ll get back to it once the lesson planning begins to get tiresome. In between, I think I’ll try starting a You-tube channel, and learn to Samba. As long as it all gets done in time, who cares.

 

About Author

Artist, Educator, Parent, Small Business Owner, Big kid from a big city, in a small town.

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