Good evening ladies and gentleman
So, as we continue through our days, some in lockdown, some now more free to move about in a world far removed from the world and society we left, i can’t help but think about something that i have hated on for years, as have many of us across this country and across the world. Yet for so long now so many of us have missed more than we could have ever imagined.
This was most effectively illustrated to me by the “big” day- Saturday 4th July 2020 and a collection of buildings by people of all ages as a second home, a haven away from the stresses and exhaustion of our modern existence- the pub.
The pub and a pint are the best illustration I’ve seen in a long time for the routine. The routine is a funny old thing, because its something we all hate on- almost on a daily basis, but the moment it is taken from us we yearn for its return. We need this pattern, for this pattern is supposedly the key to our purpose, our place in society.
We are told we need to be a part of society- we need to provide a role for the good of the “big wheel” of life. For without us, the wheel cannot continue to turn… and so on. This makes the routine something we see as a necessity, to get up and go to work, to be there for 8 or so hours a day, go to the same things you did yesterday, eat at the same times you did yesterday, be the same person you were yesterday.
We have been convinced that routines are the key- not to happiness, but to survival, then before you know it- a decade has passed. 10 years have gone by and you were just sat there wandering what the fuck happened. Routine happened, and we wander why we feel so awful at the mere idea of trying to live for your job as a member of society, to serve this machine that doesn’t care about you and doesn’t want to care about you. Routine is the thing that anchors you to a life you can explain and can understand, but it is the one thing that without it- you are truly free.
Why is this? Because the whole idea of living with meaning and purpose, while powerful, has been mired in misconception for generations now. We consider routines as the purpose of our lives, the existence which gives us a reason to wake up in the morning and not go and enjoy another day- but to just “get through it” as you hold on for lunch break while you stare up at the giant clock on the wall.
I’ve always wandered about why that clock was there, beyond the obvious. Have a look around when you go to work next time for the clock, its always in such a predominant place. Always obvious to remind you that your time is not yours when you’re there, you’re paranoid about how long you have to eat, how long you have to complete a task and fear of the managers saying you aren’t working well enough and need to get out.
Without routine- we are nothing.
Without ritual- we are nothing. Simply floating.
Similar in meaning, but contextually- very different. Routine is the thing that grinds you down, beats you into submission. It is what you feel you must do and is what leads to living in this endless ludicrous loop, living in hope that doing the same thing day in day out will eventually provide some form of different result. It wont. Doing the same thing everyday and hoping for a different result is in itself the definition of insanity.
With a certain amount of irony and the more i think about it, the routine is as major aspect of our lives limiting happiness, not helping you build it. The feelings of purpose, of feeling self aware and emotionally aware, being able to live your life in a form of persistent and consistent self realisation are all things that have the means to bring us happiness and joy, but we need something more in our lives to measure this by.
Even the simplest of things, woven into the routine we sometimes think we are so blessed by. Make your bed in the morning. Simple, shouldn’t do anything- but is a remarkably effective method for controlling an anxious reaction to not being happy in life. You have control over your room, so look after it. Appreciate what you have- your room is your kingdom. It’s where you rest, it’s where you grow. Look after the war room, you’re going to need it and doing these simple things help you understand that you’re doing okay.
We are convinced, in particular when we are not ok, that we should appear ok, convinced it’s not ok to not b ok. The ritual is a power you have control over, to wield as you will. Find something you enjoy and do it everyday. Not huge things, they will take time. Have a cup of tea, take a walk in the park, go for a run, go for a drive, go and do something that grounds you to the person you are. The ritual is your reminder to yourself to keep it moving. Movement, of any kind is your power.
Through doing these small things, to me, you are taking back control of how you feel about your life. Make your bed, prepare your food- eat well. You have a busy day ahead. And remember…
A pint is a moment in time, a fleeting snapshot of joy on this continuous line of life. Life is not a circle, its a straight line- from beginning to end. Today was a bad day? Tomorrow is a new day.
Get up- make your bed. And carry on. Even when you don’t want to.
Yours, with love as always.