Whenever I’m feeling less than enthused about going to the gym, I know I just need to get myself dressed and out the door and get myself to the gym. If I get myself there, that’s most of the battle, and I’ll do something because I’m there.
It’s kind of how I feel about writing. I want this to be a constant exercise. I want to make this a part of my daily routine. However, sometimes you just don’t feel like it. But if you sit down, turn off distractions, and begin typing (or handwriting), it begrudgingly eventuates.
I’ve had two months off from routine. It was a nice vacation from the real world. No work, minimal responsibilities, the way to live if a writer is to be inspired. Do I have anything to show for it, creatively? I’ve started a blog with 8 posts. Only 8. That’s not very much… But hey, it’s a start.
I have found myself less than inspired to work out lately, and by lately, I mean since early May, when I started living in limbo, not totally in Australia and not totally in my destination. That’s over 2 months for someone who used to work out every day for almost a year.
My stuff was collected and packed and shipped from Sydney in early May. Once it left my life, I was a nomad, homeless, in a way. My home suddenly wasn’t Sydney anymore. But it wasn’t San Francisco yet. Suddenly the gym wasn’t my top priority, that only thing I could knock out in any given day and feel like I accomplished something. It suddenly wasn’t enough. Maybe my workout routine was stale; maybe laziness took over; whatever the reason, that motivation left me.
I’ve been even less inspired to write – like, since I was a kid. I used to have a journal. I wrote in it everyday. Let’s face it, I didn’t have the most exciting life when I kept it. I think if I had kept one through my college years and living in San Francisco for the 7 years subsequent to graduation, that journal would 1) clear up a lot of confusion over fuzzy nights of lost memories, and 2) be a hell of a lot of stuff that someone may find entertaining and want to read someday.
Maybe someone needed my writing since those days, and I didn’t have it. I could have saved someone by sharing, but I didn’t. Maybe I withheld, and preventing expression of what’s in my head didn’t prevent the lesson to be learned by happening to the next girl, or the next gay person, or the next whoever. I didn’t have that writing in me to give then.
I know I’ve writing to share. I’m sick of not doing anything about it. I want to be motivated again. I need to find that something that sparks me.
I used to fear routine – as an auditor, everyday I go to work, and everyday is different. You have good days and bad days hurled at you faster than you know how to put out those fires. You catch a lot of crap, and you need to filter through what you have to escalate and what you can resolve yourself. In the corporate world, that’s a fine line. They assign roles at the start of a project to decide who gets the blame if something goes wrong.
When you do find things you can handle yourself at work, you then need to sort out the best way to handle that hot potato and hope it doesn’t land you in jail or fired. Sometimes you get a mumbled, half assed “thank you”. Most days you don’t get an ounce of gratitude or appreciation for your creative and spontaneous solutions where there is no manual or scantron with a correct answer.
Because everyday was different, I learned to abhor routine. It was never the same fire to put out (funny enough, except for when it was…) It kept me on my toes; it kept me fresh and prepared for whatever came my way. I figured trying to nail down a routine was a waste of time and energy.
Well, now, I think I’m going to change that. I want to try an experiment. What if I allowed myself to fall into a routine? In the coming weeks, I’ve rejoined a gym, I start work again, and life gets real again. No paid vacation. No time off to “sort my shit out.” What if I embrace the routine that comes to me, instead of working against the grain to avoid it?
I always thought in this line of work, I could never handle routine, rather routine could never handle me. There are going to be late nights at work, sleep deprived mornings, weekends spent reaching deadlines or “front end loading” (my favorite bullshit term which means “we’re never going to make this deadline working normal people hours, so start working round the clock now, and maybe you’ll make it by some miracle 4 weeks from now.” But I digress…)
Point is, maybe I should actually give routine a try, when it comes to health decisions, work, and writing, and any things I must do.
In a week, I must start waking up early for a morning gym routine, 6-7am. I need to grab a protein infused juice on my way home from the gym before a quick shower and head into a day of work that has as much chance of removing any hope for an evening workout, as it does to be that one day I do that great thing that gets remembered at bonus time in a year. I have a steep learning curve, coming back to the fast paced SF office, and a different work culture to re-assimilate back into. It’s definitely going to be weird, because I am a different person from when I left San Francisco 3 years ago.
So routine, we meet again. Don’t go all crazy on me, especially at first. Be gentle and I’ll follow you, and when I’m tired or unmotivated and I don’t want to follow you to the gym/work/writing, I’ll need to take the reins myself and lead myself to the gym, to work, and ultimately to a time to write at least once a day. I actually want the results of the time investment at the gym and in developing my voice, so I need to do the daily work that will get me there.
But I don’t have to like it.