We are all creatures of habit. But have you ever stopped and thought just how attached we really are to our daily routines and rituals? Even the slightest deviation or disruption is enough to throw us entirely off kilter. Just think about it for a moment, oversleeping by a few minutes or missing our usual train or ferry and now the entire day is off to a bad start. After that it spirals downward from there into a vortex of negativity wherein nothing goes your way and you find yourself in a midst of an entirely bad day.
Last week I put myself to the test of this by reinstating my old morning routine which includes going to the gym before heading into the office. I didn’t think twice about the impact of such a change since after all, I have been doing this routine for nearly 20 years – until six months ago when an injury in need of rest kept me on the sidelines.
4:47 AM and sound of the alarm pierced through my dreams and ripped apart my morning peace and serenity. I was shaken to my core and frantically looked around my bedroom for an inkling of what might be happening to me. When I realized it was only the alarm clock, I exhaled but nevertheless I was too rattled to hit the snooze button – so I got up, got dressed and went to catch the ferry.
When I got to the gym, I was greeted by a number of smiling faces that welcomed my return. But as I headed to the locker room, the manager at the front desk called out to me. I quickly Back-pedaled and went over to him. He told me that the upstairs lockers were being renovated and that I had to use the locker rooms in the basement. “No problem,” I just have to go to the third floor lockers to get my stuff – my sneakers, my gym clothes, my shampoo, my conditioner, my toiletries, my make-up, my brush and of course hairdryer, UGH!
When I got to my locker I stood in front of it and cleared my mind – an effective tactic in remembering combinations and computer passwords. I then reached into my subconscious where my passwords are stored 33-29-32 and voilà. Ok, that didn’t work. I tried again, and again, and again. Bloody hell, I forgot my locker combination. I then jack-assed back down three flights of stairs and got my combination from the front desk and then huff it back up to the third floor to get my stuff out of my locker.
With my arms wrapped around all my sundries, I headed down to the basement locker rooms, doing all that I could to keep them from falling from my grip. I got to the locker room and dump everything onto a bench when all of a sudden a tsunami of people, rushed in. A class had just ended and now there was a mad dash for the showers. I exhaled exhaustively.
I looked at the clock. The time was now 7:17am and although I could have squeezed in a quick workout, I began to talk myself out of it. Instead, I opted for taking a shower which was now only lukewarm because I got beaten to the queue by the regulars who were on top of their game and aggressively secured their position as first-in-line for the showers. I felt like such a tool.
On my way out of the gym I asked the manager when the renovations will be completed – I thought to myself that I won’t return until they were done. The rest of my day continued in the same fashion. I felt defeated and by time I get home that evening, I had the gumption of melted butter. But I thought to myself that, tomorrow would be a brand new day.