It's Our Turn - Breaking the routineRoutine is my middle name and I reside in the serene land of Close-Minded. When I see people in grocery stores or walking on the street, I’ll offer a polite “hello” and continue on my merry way. Routine is comfortable; routine is easy.
By: Leah Stinson, Echo Press Intern, Alexandria Echo Press
Routine is my middle name.
Every morning, I go for a run – always the same distance. Then, I eat breakfast – a banana and oatmeal. Next, I’m off to work for the same number of hours each day.
Routine is my middle name and I reside in the serene land of Close-Minded.
When I see people in grocery stores or walking on the street, I’ll offer a polite “hello” and continue on my merry way.
Routine is comfortable; routine is easy.
However, it’s killing the close-minded world that brings me to life.
A few weeks ago, my routine faced an obstacle.
With no more than one week’s notice, I was given the opportunity to go to upstate New York – my former home – for 10 days.
As you can imagine, this freaked me out. I’d be throwing a whole week of work out the window. I didn’t know who would pick me up from the airport. I didn’t know how I would be able to stick to my routine runs.
This deterrent wreaked havoc upon my orderly mind. I resolved to stay home and stick to the status quo.
While discussing the decision with a friend, she threw out a crazy idea: Go.
After mulling it over and going back and forth no less than a couple hundred times, my stubborn mind changed.
A typical New York trip would consist of sleeping in, working out, relaxing, and then eating a nice dinner with my dad; any deviation from this routine would be frowned upon.
But then, my dad had a terribly outlandish suggestion: Deviation!
What if, instead of staying in the quiet burg for the night, we took a trip to Montreal – a cultural hot-spot?
My closed mind knew the answer: Of course not. Montreal was loud and I didn’t like it as a kid.
Montreal was different; I hate different.
I ended up agreeing to the day trip.
And, I loved it. The different languages tickled my ears; my eyes were bewitched by the dazzling lights.
We even ventured into an Irish pub, bursting with gaudy live music and unfamiliar faces.
Typically, I’d gawk at this. Instead, I did something very difficult for me: I destroyed my preconceived notions.
And, I loved it.
The musicians were wonderful; the strangers became friends.
This day trip had used up virtually all of my adventurous spirit for the year.
What, ho? An invitation to do a sunrise hike?
Oh, no. This means I can’t sleep until 9 a.m. When would I eat breakfast? I wouldn’t get enough sleep. Is hiking in the dark even safe? What if I got injured?!
Oh, what the heck.
I went. The company and the views were equally splendid. As I gazed across the verdant Adirondacks, doused in morning sunlight, adventure coursed through my veins while a warm sense of peace trickled over my heart.
After the hike, an even heftier feat was propped before me: Cliff jumping.
Well, why not?
Although I can’t pretend I didn’t whimper at the top of the cliff for half of eternity, I eventually jumped.
The jump was liberating. A scream escaped my lungs like it had been trapped for years.
And finally, I had to exercise my new open-minded mentality at a summer camp I always go to.
Sticking to my old friends was more tempting than sin to man. Yet, I decided to reach out to strangers.
Reaching out introduced me to people so wonderful it didn’t seem true. I was truly touched by how loving these new friends were, and wouldn’t sacrifice my memories with them for anything.
I finally returned to good ol’ Minnesota. I carried a new sense of adventure, new memories to cherish and a growing spirit.
I tremble when I think about what and whom I would have missed had I refused to deviate from routine.
And I’m still far from an adventurer. I’m still ornery and reluctant to try new things. I still frown upon schedule changes and delays.
But I’m trying to change.
So, I leave this message for you as much as myself: Don’t close your eyes – open your heart.
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“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.