verge (vʉrj)
the edge, brink, or margin (of something): also used figuratively the verge of the forest, on the verge of hysteria

to tend or incline (to or toward)
to be in the process of change or transition into something else; pass gradually (into) dawn verging into daylight

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dog Walker Tip #7: Routine Maintenance*

Otis has gone home and alas, I am without Dog today.  This is quite rare. This means I am unleashed.

I am also unhinged, unstrung, and unsettled.

For starters, I overslept.  To my shock, I slept right past my ridiculously habitual (and involuntary) 5am wake-up and, unlike certain airline pilots, I can't even blame it on Facebook.  Once awake, I twitched and trembled my way through the day, painfully discovering my dependency on the routine of Routine. Ohhh, how this hurts!

To some, this might have been welcomed day off--a day of quiet repose spent near the fire with yummy books, the Sunday puzzle, endless amounts of dark roast coffee, the glow of the slightly leaning tree, and perhaps Schubert's C Major Quintet playing on the stereo.  But I blew it.  I made a fire and then ignored it.  I picked up the Book Review but got only as far as Letters before having to reheat the coffee I lost but then found again as I wandered the house.  I looked for my reading glasses only long enough to discover that the fire had died and needed restarting. I then discovered the wood on the porch needed to be moved to the rack inside.  But after only one armload of wood, I noticed that the birdseed needed refilling so I abandoned the logs for the feeders. I then tried to look at dog pictures to stay on the cutting edge of dog-ology but then remembered I hadn't found my glasses.  This temporarily motivated me to take a dog-less walk until I noticed the snow and consequently changed my mind, opting for the fire, books, coffee, and the Schubert--only to realize that I don't have that particular Schubert.  This took me on a cruise through itunes to see what's out there, only to find that I have a bunch of unidentified music in my library.  In the end, I accomplished nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  And if I had wanted to do nothing today, I would have done a much better job of it.

Routine is a great invention.  It gets things done.  It provides security.  It makes cumbersome schedules cumber-less.  Routine is both liberating and grounding.  But, as in my case, too much routine leads to mental stupor.  Routine gets me dressed very quickly everyday, and while I can be sure that I'm dressed, don't ask me what I'm wearing because I probably have no idea unless I look.  Clearly today's twitching proves that I have failed to heed the call for Routine Maintenance--a process whereby a routine is un-routinized, scoured, rinsed, re-evaluated, and then reinstated.

To maximize the benefits of routine, schedule in regular maintenance checks. Trade the art of routine for the art of spontaneity.  Dismantle your current routine, no matter how well it works. Learn how to temporarily function outside a routine.  Forget the clock, the chores, the plan.  Pick something--pick a few things--and do them backwards, upside down, inside out, or not at all.  But do them with purpose and resolve.  Then, when reassembling your old routine, pick one teeny little part of it that you can enhance or do without.  This will keep you fresh.  This will enhance your alertness when you resume your routine.  You will know what you are wearing because you paid attention when you put it on.

Learn from my mistakes.  Practice spontaneity. Do this routinely.

*I dedicate this post to my Mom and Dad. Wink, wink.....

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