I wanted to piggy back off of yesterday’s post about habits. And since our habits become our routines, I felt it was appropriate. Let me clarify—routine is a killer if you have the wrong one. One day you wake up wanting to do something different but you’re afraid and the next thing you know, 10 years have passed and you’re doing the same thing you’ve always done—true story. It’s like a perpetual Groundhog’s Day you’ve chosen to live. Over and over again.
I’ve lived my life on autopilot for decades, guilty as charged. And I was absolutely miserable. Everything was about time down to the second as well as a never-ending list of obligations and to-do’s from everyone around me. And I felt like I owed it to them for a million reasons. I didn’t think I was worthy or allowed to stray from the path of what people needed from me because of things they had done for me. I never used my voice to speak what I truly wanted. I never felt like saying, ‘thank you’ was enough because I grew up understanding that when someone did something for you, it was a debt that you owed. So I learned to do things for myself and it made me an absolute control freak.
Everything had to be done a certain way by a certain time. I would wake up and start getting ready for work when all I wanted was to lay in bed. I mean, we’ve all been there, but I would literally sit on the edge of the bed contemplating how or why I was doing anything I was doing. It felt empty and unfulfilled. Of course I was grateful because I had a roof over my head and could afford some nice things, but I found myself spending needlessly to numb the pain of the fact that I wasn’t doing anything I wanted to. I’d get myself into so much debt, I had no choice but to work and work and work.
As I said above, I woke up one day and realized that 10 years had passed and I felt an intense grief. Thinking of all the possibilities I had missed out on—and I could count all of them, and I mourned them. I got angry at myself and sad again. And I knew I had to make a different decision. I admitted that I didn’t want to live like that anymore. My actions meant nothing to the company beyond their bottom dollar and it hit me with absolute clarity that they could have anyone fill my position in a heartbeat. So I started changing my routine. Truth be told, this is an ongoing evolution. I’m still working on developing the routine that works for me. I still have days where I am on auto pilot and I can’t stand it. But there are days when I’m in the groove and I’m aligned and it is magic. I’m finding balance between what needs to be done to support my family and what needs to be done to keep my sanity. I’m working on finding a way to support my family doing what I love because that kind of work feels different. When it’s heart-centered and focused on your talents you can’t go wrong.