Rut or Routine?

It matters, right? I mean, we sort of admire our friends who have established healthy work or exercise routines and have a certain stick-with-it-ness. But if we look at our own lives and feel we have fallen into certain habitual behaviors, we think that is bad. Or is there any difference?

I know that I certainly value routine and ritual in my life. Nearly every morning I get up between 6:30 and 7:00 in the morning and after washing my face and brushing my teeth, I shamble off to the kitchen, pull out the toaster, load it up with a whole-wheat English muffin and pull out the almond butter and blackberry jam that I will eventually slather over each half. I buy two jars of the blackberry jam from Trader Joes whenever I am there because I don’t like to run out and I don’t like to substitute.

Once I’m sure I am truly awake, I get in my car and drive the 1.3 miles my neighborhood Starbucks, grab the local paper to go with the New York Times which I have delivered, and pick up the 20 oz cup of delicious caffeine that will assure that within one-half hour, my heart will truly be functioning at full power. People chide me over this habit and I understand that brewing one cup of coffee at home would be more sustainable and efficient, but I like having other people make my coffee for me.

I settle into my chair in the family room and scan quickly through the first two sections of the local paper while I sip the first and best 20% of my coffee. I thin get ready to read the sports section which is always more satisfying if I already know that I get to read about a Padre victory from the night before.

This moment is my signal to get up and prepare my English muffin to go along with the sports section and the rest of my coffee. Besides reading the articles, I enjoy studying the box scores of other teams and players that I follow. Then I’m on to the Times for a more in-depth look at anything that is of particular interest to me.

By around 9 o’clock it’s time to begin on whatever to-do list that I’ve created for myself that will keep me busy for the rest of the day.

Now if this routine, which I repeat day after day, gets disrupted it’s not like I get a nervous tic, or have to take three showers, or lock and unlock the front door five times. I won’t go all Rainman on anyone. If I travel, I don’t need to pack up my jam and a travel toaster. So, am I in a rut? Is this habitual behavior killing my spontaneous spirit?

For now, I don’t care. It’s just comforting. I like it. For now, it’s my way of welcoming the day.

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