Daily routines give our lives needed structure. My day typically starts with an early morning swim or run followed by a green tea latte. And newspapers. I use the same locker at the Y and shower in the first stall. Sometimes when I’m showering, dudes still half asleep mindlessly do a U-turn towards “my” stall necessitating my “take a hike” glance. I cycle Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I wrap up most days like Winston Churchill, reading in the tub (well, more accurately, he dictated speeches). Maybe I should add in cigars.
The problem with daily routines is that we reach a point of diminishing returns, a tipping point where our lives become too predictable. Absent spontaneity and serendipity, life is uninteresting. Especially as we age, we’re prone to getting stuck in over routinized ruts. The question is how do we get unstuck?
Reagan Underland, an Olympia High School senior, knows how to get unstuck. Read her story here. Even though Reagan most enjoys the humanities and has no family ties to the military, she’s attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs next fall. Why the Academy? Reagan said, “. . . I wanted to do something that scared me and that had purpose.”
That’s a wonderful formula for getting unstuck. Find something that scares you and has purpose. I did the same thing as Reagan when I was eighteen. I chose a college that I wasn’t really prepared for. Because I was scared of failing, I ended up flourishing.
The last thing I did that scared me was two years ago when I raced an iron distance triathlon. But truth be told though, I’m not sure if that experience was sufficiently purposeful. In my interpretation of the word, purpose implies something that’s socially redeeming. Maybe it’s time for you and me to follow Reagan’s lead and do something scary and socially redeeming.