Saturday, December 14, 2013

Striking a balance between routine and adventure

I've found most people either lean toward routine or lean toward adventure. I'm pretty sure I fall into the routine category. I generally take comfort in many of the consistencies in my life. Saturday mornings are the perfect example of this.

On the weekends when I am in town, nothing keeps me away from my Saturday morning routine of making a trip to the Soda City Market, picking up iced tea with a splash of simple syrup from Drip on Main Street, eating cheese grits with hot sauce from Rosso's market booth, visiting friends Sally and Stuart at their craft booths, and just enjoying the music, food and cool urban bustle that downtown Columbia has created.

After that, I head to my workout with weights class at Jamie Scott Fitness. I claim my same spot in the room knowing one of several instructors I like will be teaching the class. I chat with several people I see only at this class and line up my weights in the same order each week.

However, as I get older, I find that what gives me the most energy are those things that often fall outside of my routine…or activities that often help me find a new, and sometimes more valuable, routine.

Exercise is a perfect example of this. In recent months I've been forced to vary my exercise routine based on work and travel schedules. I've found myself choosing a workout class based on time availability rather than the type of class I prefer.

Because of this forced change in routine, I've upped my number of cardio classes, found out I really do like sweating in a hot room while doing yoga, made several new young friends while taking Pilates, and learned I have the strength and flexibility to do wall yoga with a group of college students.

When I travel, routine and consistency help ensure I'm not forgetting to pack something or do something when I'm on the road. Chargers go in one suitcase pocket, jewelry in another and snacks in another. I try to be as organized and consistent as possible in my packing to avoid late night trips to the hotel shop to buy a new charger.

But when travelling, I've also learned how important it is to break from the routine of my schedule and enjoy what's around me. If I had taken a cab instead of walked in Minneapolis, I would have missed the statue of Mary Tyler Moore flinging her hat in the air and wouldn't have stumbled on the cool mid-day market on a downtown street. If I hadn't ventured out in Seattle I would never have discovered the wonders of chocolate linguine (yes,'s great over ice cream!) or seen the original Starbucks.

Then sometimes, adhering to a routine can actually result in something new. I'm trying to learn to play the mandolin – a beautiful instrument that I'll never master without consistent practice alone and with others. I'm reminded of this when I get frustrated at the routine of practicing chords and scales. The consistency of these rote tasks has helped me understand the flow of the music and the nuances of this instrument so I will ultimately be able to venture out to a more creative, and adventurous, way of playing.

Adventure just for the sake of adventure isn't necessarily good, while, at the same time, routine just for the sake of routine isn't either. Like everything in life, it's all about the balance.

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