Routine Thinking

If there’s one thing about me that annoys my family and friends (more than any of  my other annoying characteristics), it’s my lack of routine. It’s not really something I really notice – being a routine-less person I don’t really ever notice anything – but after it came up in a discussion (well, exasperated argument) with my mother a couple of week’s ago, it got me thinking.


Let me explain by illustrating the lack of routine in my daily existence.

When it comes to the things I do everyday, I have no set ways of doing anything. Things like brushing my teeth and washing my face in the morning are done in a random order with random products. Sometimes I have tea, sometimes I have breakfast. Sometimes I have nothing. I have no set time to get up, and no set time to leave the house.

When I eventually leave the house, I select random tube lines, and choose different stops to get off at. If I’m driving, some days I make a spur of the moment decision to take a five mile detour.

Understandably, my routine-less-ness irritates the other people in my life considerably. They never know where I am, what I’m doing, or quite simply why I am doing what I’m doing. I don’t really know either, I just like to mix things up.

Obviously this lack of routine has it’s bad points: the main bad point being that I forget things quite a lot. Just yesterday I rocked up at the gym without anything to wear on my bottom half, purely because I’d assumed there were a pair of leggings lurking in the footwell of my car. In the past month I have forgotten to take my phone to work, ‘lost’ my car keys and had a frantic scramble to uncover my passport from the mountain of junk in my bedroom.

A side effect of having no routine is that, naturally, I am an incredibly messy person. My mother has admitted she hoped I would grow out of the ‘messy phase’ – I haven’t. I’m not averted to tidiness; I just have more important things to do. Mess doesn’t bother me. Luckily my boyfriend is of an equally messy disposition, otherwise tempers would no doubt have frayed.

As a student, a lack of routine wasn’t an issue. It was in fact integral to my everyday existence. Sleep, get up, potter around, do a bit of work, eat, sleep, etc etc, all without any real time or place pressures. When it came to revision time, I shunned the strict work timetables my peers were making. Instead I adopted a philosophy of ‘it’ll just get done’. Which luckily it did.

Now that I have entered the real world where it actually matters what time I get up in the morning, my routine-less-ness is becoming something of a cross to bear. My mess has spread itself to my boyfriend’s London flat, where unspecified dirty t shirts litter the floor like Autumn leaves. That makes it sound rather poetic. It’s not.

So, what this all boils down to, is one crucial question: why do I enjoy not having a routine?

I think the answer lies more in the fact that I am terrified of routine and structure. Probably my biggest fear is being overly, OCD tidy like those people who can’t leave the house knowing their child’s sock is on the floor. Not having a routine makes every day life a little bit more surprising and exciting –  I enjoy mixing things up, and probably slightly enjoy the frantic panic when I have ten minutes to be at work and can’t find my phone.

Will I change? I hope not. Becoming as boring and routine as those very same London Underground trains I play games with on a daily basis would mean my life was over and that I’d become an adult. A scary thought indeed.


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