W for walking and for #wycwyc.
I have this thing where once a year I meet up with my sister and a friend and we walk 13.1 miles.
We could do coffee. We could float. We opt for a half-marathon. We crazy like that.
My sister lives in Austin and I see her all the time. My friend is a different story.
To my chagrin, we chit chat sporadically during the intervening 364 days, but don’t have hours of uninterrupted time except for one day each year.
On our annual 3M-walk’perience , however, it feels as though we have all the time in the world to slowly catch up.
We each ‘take’ four miles (this equals 12–not sure where the extra 1.1 goes) and, during that stretch, talk, ask, yammer, ramble, shout or cry about absolutely anything we want.
We seize this gift of time to update each other up on the minutiae of our lives.
We celebrate our successes. We complain. We vent. We reveal every detail of what’s changed over the past 364 days and, simultaneously, have an opportunity to step back and marvel at how far we’ve come.
I cannot emphasize enough how quickly the miles pass given the multitude of topics we cover.
happy faces at mile #1.
This year’s walk felt different to me.
It felt off.
I loved seeing my friend and basking in her energy. I adored the uninterrupted-by-our-children sister-time. As I talked through my allotted 4 miles I arrived at a shocking conclusion: I had nothing new to share.
My year had been fine. I worked. I spent time with friends. I had joy. I had sorrow.
It dawned on (& then terrified) me as I chatted during my stretch how similar my ’16 was to my ’15.
So similar, in fact, I could scarcely differentiate between the two.
still smiling. mile 13.1
As we finished the race and climbed on the buses which would bring us back to the start I felt…something.
I couldn’t discern if I was sad or disappointed, but what I felt both eluded words and strongly reminded me of a quote Id read years ago by Robin Sharma:
Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.
I’d found Sharma’s words interesting when I first encountered them (and will admit I had a moment of ONLY 75?!) yet presumed they’d never apply to me.
During my miles I’d realized they entirely applied to me.
I possess routine which provides structure/consistency (and if you believe the experts this is key for success), yet my version of routine has quite literally become the same things over and over.
As I bumped along on the bus I questioned if my routine had slid into monotony and triggered my living the same year twice.
I challenged myself with regards to precisely what the difference between routine and monotony might be (it was a long ride) and whether Sharma’s quote could be a powerful yet not apply to me.
Alas, Ive no great insights with which to wrap up this post. No Seinfeldian yanking of a thread where-by all my musings fall neatly together.
I’m still struggling/deciding for myself and, more than anything, curious what you think:
- If routine & structure breed success – – can they also be detrimental to living fully?
- Can routine morph into monotony and ruin opportunity?
- Have you ever felt as though you’ve lived the same year twice?
Allie saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 4:37 am
This is really interesting and, not everyone has the opportunity to reflect the way you did, which is awesome…and eye opening. I also love my routine but, I definitely know how it shifts focus from one year to the next. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing and, if you really think about what your intentions and goals were from 2015 to 2016 I bet they were very different…
Either way, I absolutely love the idea of walking a half marathon with two people you love and chatting the entire time!!! LOVE.
Bea saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 4:44 am
It’s a little too early for me to be thinking like this, but that’s an intriguing distinction between routine and monotony.
I trend toward being really proud of the routine and consistency I’ve created in my life, too.
I need to consider whether this has killed opportunity because I’ve been too wedded to my routine ??
Angela @ happy fit mama saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 4:45 am
I think certain parts of my year exactly the same year after year. It’s my routine but there are little snippets here and there that jazz it up.
Tia saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 5:56 am
I wonder if the question you need to really ask yourself is: do I like my routine?
Susie @ Suzlyfe saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 6:00 am
Very interesting. And I think that Tia also asks a very good question. There are components to my years that are the same, but also some huge differences. I’m going to need to chew this one over. Thank you as always for the food for thought.
Coco saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 6:14 am
First, I love how you do this half marathon. Second, a year of routine can be a blessing compared to the alternatives. Third, maybe we need a “rest interval” before we climb the next hill — or take the next leap.
messymimi saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 6:25 am
Who says routine can’t include routinely seeking out new things, or new ways to do things that work better than what we are doing now?
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 6:49 am
All I could think about when I read this post was why couldn’t my past year have been boring? It was a really tough balancing act, trying to stay positive in the shit storm of 2016 at the Rivard house. Fortunately, we’re recovering nicely.
Darlene saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 7:10 am
Awesome post. Great points for reflection. For me routine provides structure/consistency (i.e. I wake up every morning and head out for my walk at 6 AM), but my version of routine includes variety (i.e. I walk a different route, I sometimes walk indoors to a DVD). As human being we do need structure, but we ALSO need variety. Finding the right balance is key.
Leanne | crestingthehill saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 7:16 am
Really thought provoking questions Carla. My last few years have been all about change and stepping out of my comfort zone. But I feel like I might end up in that same rut you’re talking about now that everything has settled back down. I’m going to have to keep an eye on that over 2017!
MCM Mama saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 7:25 am
I would say that my day to day life is somewhat routine, but I’m not a schedule kind of person and I tend to grab opportunities as they come, so not as routine as many people. At the beginning of every year, Beer Geek and I talk about what trips we want to take, what races I want to run, and how to manage it with his work schedule and two kids in school. Somehow, we always manage to find time and money to do some cool new stuff. That’s probably why I’ve been saying I’ll update my kitchen for the last 15 years and it still hasn’t happened. :o/ So, I might wake up at the end of the year and not have much accomplishment to show in terms of career, home improvement, or changes to our day to day life, but there were always unique adventures along the way and that makes all the difference for me.
Michelle @ Running with Attitude saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 7:28 am
Interesting Carla – I hadn’t really stopped to consider the distinction between routine and monotony. There were definitely parts of my 2016 that were indistinguishable from 2016 – and that’s both a blessing and a curse. In some ways I’ve needed the routine in order to deal with other challenges – the routine provides a safe haven of sorts, if that makes any sense.
Thanks for giving me something to ponder…
Rena McDaniel saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 8:51 am
That quote hit me hard! I had to write it down and tape it to my office wall. I don’t have the answers either, but a few of my years look identical to the one before. Here’s to hoping 2017 will be good, but different somehow.
Adjusted Reality saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 9:40 am
I totally understand. This blindsided me last year. While there was nothing wrong with my routine, in fact, it was a pretty good one I’d worked hard to achieve, the truth is that I had stagnated and that’s not OK with me. I hadn’t really learned anything new or done anything besides put a toe or two outside my comfort zone in years.
2016, for all it’s craptastic points, was really an awakening and the first one in a while where I feel like I had some personal growth even if it was uncomfortable at times.
Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 9:50 am
Such a thought provoking post friend! But first, I must say I think we are meant to be friends. I do plenty of 13.1 walks. People make fun of me for doing it (I can’t walk with the hip replacement now), but I do it because it makes me think about deep life things like this. I think routine is beneficial, but it should be balanced with challenging yourself outside your comfort zone. That’s how we grow, learn and become better.
Dawn A Engler saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 9:50 am
I wanted to focus on your questions to keep from creating an entire blog response to this! HA
If routine & structure breed success – – can they also be detrimental to living fully? YES I have been feeling this myself and the only thing keeping me moving forward sometimes is a 20-yr dream to move to Colorado that is happening in June.
Can routine morph into monotony and ruin opportunity? Again, YES for me. I live on a routine because 1. I have an adult son with Autism that change does not agree with. 2. I am a complete organize and routine freak – but I KNOW it holds me backs from opportunities.
Have you ever felt as though you’ve lived the same year twice? Got me on this one. Have to think about it, so I guess not. I feel I’ve lived the same for the last 10 years!!!
Shari Broder saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 11:01 am
Interesting that you wrote about this. I resist routine, but now that I’m running two businesses, I try to have one to keep me on track. It gets old so fast that I have to switch it up regularly. But I also believe that too much routine is just an excuse to avoid thinking, and that’s bad. Thanks for sharing your insights!
Jody - Fit at 59 saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 2:55 pm
Simple answer – yes… lots to think about.
Deborah saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 5:05 pm
Oh Carla, I’m a lover of routine but say I don’t mind change so I can completely understand this post and it’s really gotten me thinking!!!
1010ParkPlace saysJanuary 25, 2017 at 9:32 pm
You’ve given us something profound to think about, Carla, and I thank you! Brenda
Nellie saysJanuary 26, 2017 at 6:19 am
I think I would love two smooth years back to back. That would be fantastic. Might not be realistic but a girl can dream. 🙂
cheryl saysJanuary 27, 2017 at 7:15 am
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