Most people are eager to leave the daily routine of their lives and find adventures elsewhere.
It makes sense.
We hate our jobs and we feel like we're in a rut. We love our kids but we're tired of the responsibility of taking care of them. Our walls feel stale and we want to see something different.
And then there's this pressure to share aspects of our lives that seem interesting. So we get competitive. We try to do something interesting and share it on social media. If we can just out-perform our "friends" and put up a post that makes us look fascinating, and then gather a pile of "likes" for that post - it's pretty validating, isn't it?
What's ironic is that most people live lives which in their day-to-day details are so different from our own that we'd actually be fascinated to read about that. But we wind up with feeds of meals at fancy restaurants, trips to tropical or exotic locations that somehow always look the same, children dominating at sports or doing something that seems tailored to garner the attention of a college-admissions board.
Wouldn't it be interesting to know a tax accountant gets through the day? Or a plumber? Or a housewife in some unfamiliar city? (Here's a shout out to @jlsplatts, whose adventures as an electrical lineman are worthy of prime-time television.)
I know that I, for one, am fascinated by what the people around me do for a living. The guys who drive the trains I ride every day. That attorney who I had to visit on the top floor of an office building to discuss a trip-and-fall accident at my last job. The woman barking into her cell-phone about some drama unfolding at the hospital.
How do they get through the day? What's life like for someone who has chosen a different path than ours?
I realized the other day that I've started to treat my routine as something I can constantly improve upon, fine-tune, maybe - eventually - perfect.
It's kind of silly, really. Maybe it's the result of spending so much time in the corporate world, where doing your job is never enough. You've always got to bring thoughts to the next meeting about what you're going to do to drive the next quarter. How can we make this day better than yesterday.
Or maybe it's my training in classical piano, where as many times as you've gone through a piece of music, you can always perform it differently.
So even though I'm doing the same things day after day, I find myself thinking things like: should I really eat this for breakfast? If I drink a second cup of coffee will I have to stop to pee? Which shoulder should I sling my computer case over today? Where should I go to lunch? Wouldn't it be better if, on alternating Thursdays, I wore this hat instead of that one?
And I ask myself: why am I so obsessed with goals and metrics? I even find myself bringing them in to a job where the boss couldn’t care less about them. (He might grumble: “It feels slow today. I hate it when it’s slow." But it's always slow in March.)
I seem determined to create this ideal schedule for myself and then measure my performance as a function of performing certain actions at specific times.
It’s a blessed schedule. It is the schedule of a fortunate life. And I find my self fine-tuning it the way people obsess over the itineraries of their vacation plans.
But I've got the advantage over the adventurers, because I get to do this every day.
And since I'm such a narcissist, I thought I might share it with you.
Are you happy with your daily routine? Are you eager to get out of it?
Stay tuned for part two, posting tomorrow (probably).
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