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Break Your Routines

My wife and I are moving again.

This time, it’s not very far. About 5 miles from where we live, to a better neighborhood that’s closer to my wife’s work. We’re excited to move out of our small, outdated apartment into a newer townhouse with a garage, lawn and patio. Not to mention a gas stove because a year of trying to cook on standard electric burners has left me exasperated and feeling like I had the ultimate first world problem.

I’ve moved six times in eight years. I was pretty sure that was a huge number until my buddy George LaRocque told me he moved five times in eight years (and he has kids, we don’t). Okay, fine. You beat me, George.

Still, moving that much doesn’t leave much accumulation of stuff. We have about six totes worth of personal keepsakes that we don’t use on a daily basis (including things like holiday decorations, nice dinnerware, family heirlooms and the like). Everything else is pretty much what we use. And I get rather irritable if we have too much stuff and end up making a couple of trips to charities each year or passing down to families and friends.

A certain part of me likes moving. I’m restless. I like new spaces. The other part of me likes things to stay the same, in a predictable routine. I know I feel healthier and better balanced in a routine.

Whatever. Break that routine.

I worked with a guy who advocated taking a different route home from work every once in a while. Just that sort of subtle routine shift can help make you think outside of that normal routine. I think of the many times I sat on Highway 217 in traffic every single day instead of thinking about different ways I could come back home. Sure, it could have cost an extra few minutes. And it would have meant I couldn’t zonk out to more sports radio since I had pretty much memorized the pace and flow of rush hour traffic.

And now with so much of my day scheduled and sort of regimented, breaking that routine has become more essential. Taking a walk, or following up with someone I was putting off, or even washing dishes can help shift to something I wouldn’t normally do during that time.

You don’t have to move every year or two but you have to be willing to break your routines. Whatever excuses you have for not doing it aren’t good enough.

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