Routine

I am no good with routine. I never have been. Perhaps my parents weren’t good at it either. I have childhood memories not of babysitters but of smoky bars and loud country music. Bored and tired, I was to be quiet and not interrupt – as if anyone could have heard me over the noise anyway. Even with my eyes stinging and my ears ringing, I would still fall asleep in the car on the way home. Dad worked the evening shift and sometimes I would fall asleep in bed with Mom. When I was little, he would carry me to my bed when he got home from work at 1am. When I got too big to be carried, he had to figure out how to convince this sleepy slug to shuffle across the hallway on her own. I was always hard to get out of bed in the morning (still am), and always running to catch the bus at the last minute. I had to walk to school in middle and high school, and never could be ready early enough to walk with the other kids. Instead, I procrastinated on getting up until absolutely necessary, and was frequently late for home room. By high school, my parents were separated and my father left me with the responsibility of taking care of myself because he worked when I was home and I was at school when he was home. He also believed so strongly in self-responsibility that I never had a curfew. By my second year of college, I was in a long-term abusive relationship. Chaos flowed around me as much as within me.

Not a lot of routine in my life. I despise routine.

As much as my body craves it, my mind fights it. I rebel against any sort of routine. I’m compliant with my meds, but I never take them at exactly the same time every morning. Or evening. Or bedtime. So setting the alarm to take my bedtime meds is really just a suggestion and it lets me know that 10pm has rolled around again. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, rarely the same time now. Although when I am working, meals do happen at roughly the same time, give or take an hour.

But I hate routine. It’s boring. This from a girl who, from all outward appearances, is boring. Even I think I’m boring. Although, DH doesn’t think I’m boring and he probably knows better than I.

I’m no good at organization either. I understand the concept, it’s the practice that eludes me.

Back to routines… I have a confession to make. I haven’t kept up my new routines like four things or one mile. I’ve outgrown four things for now (let’s hope it stays that way) and the weather just bounces around so much that it’s an easy excuse not to walk. The only routine I’ve kept up with is my PT exercises – I do them every day, albeit not at the same time every day.

Why do I fight routine so much? Is it just in my contrary nature? Does anyone else out there have trouble with routines? How do you deal with it?

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3 thoughts on “Routine

  1. Im the opposite, I have to have routine. So, I don’t know. My dad use to work nights and I would fall asleep on the couch trying to wait up for him. He would come home and have to try and pick me up and carry me, and soon he had to tryand just wake me aliitle so I could walk to bed. Dad told me that one night, hereached to try to wake me and I punched him in the nose in my sleep lol

  2. My parents were very structured. Okay, correction. My mother was very structured, and my brother had to stay on the same routine, or he’d freak out. Things were beyond predictable. It was so rigid that it was stagnant and suffocating.

    My mother was perfectly content with getting up at 4AM each morning. She would make coffee and watch the news. Then, she’d start her first attempts to wake me up at 5:30am. I had to get the bus by 6:50am.

    My father and I have always been the kind of people who cannot keep a steady beat. I am difficult to wake, and usually completely miserable to be around.

    So, naturally, I went to college and went nuts. But, I always seemed to manage to mostly make it on time (if my first class was with a professor I liked), and I did alright. It wasn’t until after college, when I started working roating shifts, that it became really bad.

    Personally, I wouldn’t be able to keep the schedule that I do without the flexible structure around me. Work has set times, but I have a different classes every day. I have my choices of buses, the early one, the regular one, the late one – any which way I can usually slide in on time.

    As for the rest of it, I have to take medicine to regulate sleep. Sleeping pills at night, Wellbutrin in the morning.

    I think keeping a routine is difficult for multiple reasons. Natural rhythms are not consistent. Sometimes, fighting that does more harm than good. For me, I noticed that if the routine starts to get too rigid, honestly, I get bored. My brain craves new experiences, new knowledge, and stimulation. And, when stable, I have a problem adjusting. What do I do with my mental energy when I’m not constantly working out symptoms and utilizing coping mechanisms?

    I think that’s why it’s so difficult. It’s just not in our nature. We’re not stable, predictable creatures by design. That’s why routine seems to be the antidote.

  3. I do so much better with a routine but have a hard time creating and sticking to one by myself. I had a structured home life as a young person but like Lulu kinda went nuts in college, with the predictable outcomes for bipolar – the causal part isn’t clear on that, but they were definitely related. When I moved in with my husband after that, everything settled down because I stick to his schedule, and that’s mostly been true since then. But every time I travel by myself, I demonstrate zero ability to stick to even a minimum routine and then make myself all hypomanic. :-/

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