I love lists. I love schedules and all things organizational. And while my living space may not always reflect that, I love to plan, organize, and color-code things.
So, when I first came across the concept of routines, it was a joyous occasion. I first learned about it from Megan Gilger of The Fresh Exchange. If you’ve been around This Wondrous Life for a while, you know how much I absolutely love her and what’s she creating with TFE. Anyways, I learned of this beauteous thing called routines and journaled about it, dreaming up what kind of routine I wanted for my life.
Here’s the thing y’all. If you are spontaneous and love to go wherever the wind blows you, the word routine probably makes you wanna hurl or gives you the heebie jeebies. I get it. I went through a season of living spontaneously if you will. For a natural-born planner, it was tough and uncomfortable, but it grew on me and at the end of that two-year period, when planning was reintroduced to my life, I shall not lie it freaked me out. BUT, here’s the thing. Finding the rhythm and developing the routine in your life is not a prison. It’s actually liberating. It is in the routine that you create the space for the things that you value. You feed your soul and ultimately give birth to your dreams.
A routine is not a schedule. It is not an hour by hour, minute by minute breakdown of your life or a to-do list. No, in my book, a routine is a rhythmic pattern that protects what matters and grounds you daily. This matters y’all because life happens. And it is easy to get lost in the sauce if you will when life throws her unripen lemons at you and challenges you to make lemonade. It is easy to deflate and simply exist when the plot twists come. Having a routine, deciding how you want to begin and end each day, brings a level of intentionality and ownership to your life. In creating a routine, you choose what you want to protect and release; what you want to cultivate and cut out; what you want to explore and challenge.
Like I said, a routine is not a schedule. For awhile and still currently, part of my routine included making a cup of coffee. It is simple and probably insignificant for most, but during this time, when the house is quiet, and it is just me in the kitchen, the water boiling, and the coffee grounded, I think. I let myself become fully aware of what’s around me. I smell the coffee and pick out my mug of the day. I watch nature wake up outside the kitchen window. I breathe in peace and rest. This simple task is usually followed by some journaling time. These two things ultimately protect my space. I take time to unpack anything thoughts or feels or simply describe the morning. It’s a release for me that ultimately sets me on the right path for the day. Does it look the same every time? Nope. Not at all. And I think there’s beauty in that.
The goal of a routine is not to have this perfectly structured day. No. The goal of a routine is to protect and make room for what matters, however that looks for you. It’s also giving room for you to do what you love and like each day ultimately investing yourself. I thoroughly enjoy making a cup of coffee, so I start my day off with some joy.
I firmly believe before we attack our laundry list of dreams and goals this year, it is vital that we ground ourselves in a rhythm that keeps us from burn out. We live in world and society that is constantly moving and shifting to the newest, biggest thing and it is easy, oh so easy, to adopt that pattern in our lives, but can we say it is truly fruitful? Can we say that pattern helps us sustain?
When I look at my life, I realize while it would be amazing for every dream and goal I have to come true and for life to go exactly how I see it, more than all of that, I want a life that sustains. I want a life that is fruitful and creates a legacy that lasts. To build that, to create that, doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t just happen out of the blue. It requires intentionality and consistency from me. It requires me to slow down, make room for what matters, and build from there.
I’ll end with this quote that gives all the feels:
Routine is a ground to stand on, a wall to retreat to; we cannot draw on our boots without bracing ourselves against it. Henry David Thoreau
As this new year starts, let us take time to ground ourselves in a routine, not viewing it as a prison or box, but a space where we get to feed our souls, protect what matters, and ultimately create room for the life we truly dream of.
How do you feel about routines? Does it challenge you?
Danae Carson is the Founder and Editor of This Wondrous Life. With a passion for creativity, dreams, community, and simple living, you will find in the content she creates an eagerness for others to be awaken to their dreams, creativity, and beauty of living a simpler, full life. When she isn't busy running This Wondrous Life, Danae can be found working a 9-5 in Washington, D.C. and when she's not there, she can be found making areopress or pour-over coffee at home, brainstorming and dreaming up how to best live simply and present with those around her. Danae resides in the suburbs of Maryland. To learn more about her and This Wondrous Life, you can follow the journey on Facebook and Instagram!