The Dangers Of Routine

It is a Tuesday now, and everybody has settled into their normal weekday routines…The neighborhood outside my apartment, here in San Francisco on the edge of the Western world, is basically quiet, because it is long after the morning commute…The people who have to work, which is the vast majority of people, are well off on their way and entrenched in the routines of their work world lives…

Work is a safe, comfortable place for most people, they feel secure within the boundaries of their work spaces, their offices, their little cubicles, surrounded by their computers and telephones and chairs on wheels that roll and swivel and fit their butts just right….

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They have their work friends and cliques to hang out with and gossip about work rumors with, and they can catch up on all the latest news from the outside world, and what they all did on their respective weekends…They have their own little work areas staked out as their private turf, belonging to them, they each have their own separate functions to perform throughout the day…..

They are settling into the routine of whatever their job is, and they can “turn off their minds, relax and flow downstream,” (Beatles Revolver album, from the song “Tomorrow Never Knows”), I used to do that all the time when I was a member of the labor force for 45 years….It is like self hypnosis….

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Personally, I HATED work world…It seemed to me like such a waste of time and potential…The work world day would always be the same, it would always have it’s own built in, pre-established rhythms, it’s own routine….. There was always the morning break to look forward too, the much anticipated hour lunch break, and then the blessed “almost out of here” afternoon break….

Sometime the whole day would go by like I was on a cloud, in a fog, and I was usually so sleep deprived that was literally the truth….I often felt like I was sleep walking through the day, but I was still secure and comfortable in my routine…

I should explain that I have had many jobs in my life, mostly brutal physical blue collar labor jobs, which I mostly enjoyed, but for my last job before retirement I worked 12 years in an office environment for a modern, shiny new up to date typical corporation… And even though I loved it when i first started because of the enlightened management, I grew to hate it it after the new regime took power, a bunch of mentally challenged, morally corrupt, intellectually inadequate, greedy managerial jackasses that projected their own stupidity and insecurities on their captive work force…

But still, I managed to not only survive but thrive because of the human coping mechanism of routine, and I never missed a day off because of illness of any kind…There is in each of us I think a certain craving for stability, and even in a hostile work place you can still manage to fashion a niche for yourself…

You can carve out a little piece of your own domain where you feel relatively secure, even if it is just burying yourself in the interminable, never ending minutiae of work, like working on special projects on your own personal work computer, or faxing documents, emailing short brief letters to your co workers and/or bosses, answering or making phone calls, taking innumerable trips to the copy machine to generate even more paperwork that had to inevitably be filed…

I would spend the whole day immersed in these mindless, boring, meaningless tasks and then suddenly POOF! It would be time to go home and another soul less, morally void wasted day in work world would be over, and I could begin what i considered my real life, my life at home...

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The commute home was always a joyous time, I was able to blast my music and let the tires of my car spit dirt out from under them back at the office complex as I sped away from my hated job…

Obviously, feeling the way that I did about my job, the only thing that kept me there was money, scratching out a regular paycheck to pay the bills… And I was making just barely enough to get by, but again the security of routine was so well entrenched in my mind that I found comfort in the knowledge that as long as I kept on working, as long as I just showed up every day, no matter in what condition I was in, no matter how much I hated the job, I would enjoy the routine of getting paid twice a month, thus ensuring I could continue my established routines…

Once I got home, here too I had my routines, but they were infinitely more pleasant…I had to come down from the rigors of work, change out of that ridiculous suit and tie that was required for working in a corporate office into jeans and a sweatshirt and tennis shoes, greet my cat and feed him, read the papers, especially the sports….

I would hungrily devour any sports show that was on tv, be it baseball (my favorite) or basketball or even football, although that was mostly played on the weekends when i was already home…Thankfully I had a DVR to record all the sporting events that occurred when i was languishing away in work world…

I think the point is that we all crave routine, it seems to be a human coping mechanism, it is a safe and familiar state of mind, and there is a relief and a comfort level in establishing a routine that we all strive to achieve in our daily lives….

We need to block out the dangers and uncertainties of a violent world gone mad by burying ourselves in routine, and this craving for and achieving the small pleasure of sticking to our routines seems to satisfy us, seems to work on some primordial level…If we have families, we can enjoy our children and spouses, or our friends, and that is certainly a comfortable routine to fall into…

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Group of people watching a soccer game

But even if we live alone, like I do, the need for routine is always there, beckoning us, calling to us, enticing us to enjoy the sameness of each day….By establishing routines, we can achieve the illusion that we have some sort of control over our lives, and that everything is not subject to random chaos, like it really is….The danger is that you can let your whole life slip away swathed in the comfortable cocoon of routine, just like that line in the movie: “Is this all there is?”…

But it is an immutable fact of life…People need their routines for their own mental stability…I hope you enjoy yours, just try to remember that we all only get one life…at a time…….

4 thoughts on “The Dangers Of Routine

  1. Have you ever thought about writing an ebook or guest authoring
    on other blogs? I have a blog centered on the same subjects you discuss
    and would really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my subscribers would value your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.

    Like

    1. Hi Latanya, I have thought about that, please be more specific about your proposal…I have a real problem with the email feature here on word press, but I am definitely interested in hearing what you have to say…Sincerely, john whye

      Like

    1. Hi epifaniaalicea, I am glad you liked my post “The Dangers of Routine”….Please comment as often as you would like, and feel free to tell your friends they are more than welcome to read and comment as well….Sincerely, john whye

      Like

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