We are creatures of habit. This can sometimes feel stifling and stale. Other times it’s a well-loved, worn-to-softness security blanket we wrap around ourselves for comfort.
In a world where we have to work to live, our days can become a pattern of alarm goes off, shower wakes us up, clothes go on, food is eaten, car is driven, work is done, food is eaten, work is done, car is driven, walked by dog, food is eaten, TV is watched, sleep comes. My boyfriend and I find we’ll go weeks weaving such a pattern before we stand back and look at our creation, questioning whether we really want to adorn our house with this handiwork or begin again, fresh. We have regular conversations filled with words such as “be spontaneous”, “mix it up”, “try something new”, “get out of my/our comfort zone”, “sense of purpose”, “happiness” and “change”. In response, catch ups with friends will be arranged, new hobbies will be adopted, tickets to shows will be purchased and unfamiliar places will be visited. Then, slowly, a new pattern emerges – different in ways from the last perhaps but a pattern nonetheless – retracing our favourite steps.
Status quo has negative connotations, but within it are celebrated rituals and acts of joy. While there are habits we should do away with because they do not serve us, there are also habits that are okay to hold on to because they tell us something important about ourselves and what we need (in that moment, for a few years or always).
Right now, my favourite status quo moments are:
- Waking to the sound of my alarm, which I set to go off ten minutes earlier than necessary just so I can have the luxury of knowing I don’t have to get up immediately. Instead I hit snooze and fall back to sleep for a while. (My alarm settings annoy my boyfriend, who doesn’t have to get up as early as I do during the week.)
- Drinking a warm cup of herbal tea or syrupy coffee while checking the first emails of the day at work.
- Lunch time walking dates with two of my colleagues-now-also-friends.
- Laughing at the cat as he does his nightly “I’m so hungry” meow and floor roll routine.
- Running at sunset along the waterfront where I live as evening cools the air. My mind quietens, my eyes feast on the twinkling city lights across the water and my ears are filled with sound of birds singing good night.
- Talking and joking around with my boyfriend in the kitchen as we prepare dinner together.
- Sitting on the front steps in the sunshine with my boyfriend on a weekend morning, enjoying the coffee and toast he made for me. I might read or just watch the happenings in our little cul de sac of the world.
- Drifting off to sleep on the couch in the afternoon with the cat splayed across my belly.
- Indulging in my guilty pleasures of the Internet every Friday, Saturday and Monday.
- Reading in bed with my boyfriend or watching endless episodes of our latest TV series obsession.
- Short-turned-marathon catch ups over the phone with my mum, particularly when she’s washing the dishes or cooking at the same time (makes me feel like I’m there with her, rather than on another island).
- Looking out the window from the passenger seat while my boyfriend drives, destination unimportant.
What are yours?