I feel like I just woke up from a dream. Not the kind of dream where I'm running down a hallway and encounter a giant fish head in the wall—I stopped having that one years ago—more along the lines of a dream so realistic that you have to pause and wonder whether it all really happened.
Over the last year I've fallen into a simple routine: weekdays are spent working at the office; weeknights are spent on light housework and geeky pursuits; weekends are consumed by road trips, entertaining guests, or catching up on heavy housework and more time-consuming geeky pursuits (and, on rare occasions, sleep). I am a creature of habit, so I like my routine. It's comfortable. It's safe.
Hurricane Sandy disposed of my routine two weeks ago. A friend's wedding, my anniversary celebration, a recording collaboration with my wife for a friend's D&D campaign, the Presidential election, and another recording session for The GameCola D&Dcast have kept me from settling back into a routine ever since. And I, the creature of habit, have been...
I tend to resist change the most when I'm already happy with what I've got. This upheaval should have me up in arms, grumping about how there's no time to write or play videogames or do any of the things I want or need to do. Yet, I've been doing all the things I want or need to do. Even when I've had to put things off these past two weeks, the anticipation of completing them has kept me motivated to tackle them at the first chance I get.
That includes cleaning the bathroom and sweeping the carpet. Clearly, breaking me out of my routine is harmful to my mental health.
What this suggests to me is that I really haven't been happy with my routine. Not that I've been unhappy—each day has its ups and downs, but the overall trend has been that things are positive. It's that, in addition to being a creature of habit, I'm something of a control freak. This routine I've been following has been shaped by a series of factors beyond my control, and even the factors within my control feel like there's only ever once decision I can make.
As power is restored and traffic flow returns to normal and my evenings and weekends open up again—and as courtesy and topic diversity in people's conversations return to pre-election levels—I see an opportunity to settle back into the old routine.
I'm not so sure I want to take it.
It has been most refreshing to have a break from my routine. I feel more like myself than I've felt for a long time. I feel...awake. And I'm not ready to fall back into the bed that is my old routine.
This time, when I inevitably settle into a pattern, I plan for it to be one of my choosing.