I have a love/hate relationship with routine.
I like my routines. I like 6AM barre classes and having my breakfast and lunch for the day packed and ready to go the night before. I like 3PM trips to MudHouse and reading until I fall asleep. I like writing down my schedule in my planner each day and sticking to it.
But then, I find myself bored. I start to think “this is so ordinary” and I start longing for some big adventure, a trip or a new opportunity or even a band I want to see to announce Charlottesville as its next destination. I get bored and will things to shake up, move themselves around, get more interesting.
Last week was chaotic. My company launched a new website and the lead up to launch and the hours after were unorganized chaos, at best. There was champagne in coffee cups to celebrate, but also a still growing list of things that need to be fixed, changed, or re-routed. Even in the midst of one of the busiest stretches of time since I came to WorldStrides a year ago, I was bored with my routine, counting down to the holidays and my trip to New York when things would be less ordinary, if only for a little while.
And then, Paris happened.
After work Friday, I met two dear friends for drinks and chips and salsa. It was ordinary. We practically live at Mono Loco, as it is. Margaritas and chips and salsa are as routine as my skin care regiment. We met at 5:30. I learned about the horror unfolding in Paris at 4:45. Funny, the details you remember when tragedy strikes.
As we sat talking about barre, life, and everything in between, I kept check on my phone. I usually put it aside when I’m with people, giving my full attention to them, as they deserve. But I had to know what was happening in Paris. And as the tragedy unfolded, I began to feel grateful for the ordinary.
I have two friends from France, both of whom I saw on Friday, one that morning, one that evening. I felt their pain with them as they worried about friends and loved ones. I left Mono Loco and settled in at my kitchen table to color, hoping to uncoil after a week that left me tightly wound. I turned on the news as I doodled. At some point, I put down my colored pencils and sat in the floor, watching Lester Holt reporting through tear-filled eyes, all while throwing the ball for Knox who was blissfully unaware of the tragedy unfolding. He was merely a happy pup, glad his mom was home to play with him.
I was overwhelmed and grateful for the ordinary in that moment. For tiny hyper dogs and usual margarita orders and the simple act of staying in the lines.
I was grateful that the week I crammed with several 7:30 coffee meetings, long work hours, barre classes, and late night writing sessions was so damn ordinary. The 129 people who lost their lives and the countless more injured were having very ordinary nights, too, out to dinner with family, at a concert with friends. Without any sort of warning, their ordinary became extraordinarily tragic.
I’ve been asked a few times, by family and friends, if I still intend to visit London and Paris this spring. Yes. Without any doubt, the answer is yes. I refuse to be afraid to live my life. If we have learned anything recently, its the ordinary – movie nights, rock concerts, late dinners – that can turn extraordinary in an instant, for better or for worse.
Spend time being grateful for the ordinary this week. No matter how mundane the routine may be or how much you may long for adventure – I’ve already googled ticket prices for Prague this week, you know, to get an idea of how much that 2017 trip might cost me – be grateful for the ordinary. That you had dinner in peace or made it home from work without incident. That your dog is begging for a bite of your lunch or that the barista made your coffee the same way at he does every week day.
I’ve said before that ordinary is overrated.
I retract that statement.
Ordinary is a blessing.
Be grateful for ordinary.