School: Art project to history project. Maths test to geography test. Period 1 bell to period 4 bell. Tennis lesson to piano lesson.
College: Biology course work to chemistry coursework. Mock exam to final exam. Amnesty society meeting to student council meeting.
University: Lecture to lecture. Assessment to assessment. Exam to exam.
Job: Meeting to meeting. Deadline to deadline. Financial year 1 to financial year 2.
It’s not hard to get bogged down with the same routine, and confine oneself to a recurring pattern in a never ending rut. Eventually, it just burns us out and we are left with a sense of stagnation and boredom.
Boredom is supposed to be an emotional weight or a feeling of doom that’s supposed to hang off us when we have nothing to do, and are dispassionate about life. In my opinion, this is a serious misdiagnosis- I feel boredom is not really a result of not having things to do, or even a lack of things you actually enjoy doing.
I have plenty of things to entertain me. I have plenty of hobbies. I have plenty of people to talk to. I have plenty of friends. I am working towards a career that I dreamt of since I was 8. I have plenty of things to keep my brain busy; in fact to be entirely honest, with the amount of things I have going on in my life at the moment, I shouldn’t even have time to condition my hair twice every time I wash it (two words- curly hair).
Despite all this, of late, I have noticed a change in my attitude. I just don’t have the patience to persevere with things that I previously enjoyed doing, and I’m not even talking about the big things here. Back in the day, if I would start watching a movie or a TV series, I would just have to finish it no matter how boring it was, no matter how predictable it was- it didn’t matter one bit I knew the start, climax and ending, I just had to see it through. If I loved a movie, I had the capacity to watch it over and over again and enjoy it.
I truly woke up to my state of heightened disinterest when channel surfing a couple of days back I came across the 1999 film Notting Hill, and just flicked past. That’s right, I just flicked past Hugh Grant. I flicked past Julia Roberts. I flicked past one of my potentially all-time favourite films. I flicked past Notting Hill before my fifteen year old brother had a chance to protest against the injustice of having to watch a cheesy film in his only TV break of the week. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his mouth opening and closing in sheer disbelief at this flicking and practically falling off his chair.
This state of disinterest was resonating in other areas too; people I generally enjoyed talking to, I found myself phasing into and out of conversation with as a result of the un-stimulating insipid repetitiveness and predictability of the stream of tête-à-tête. The pattern in university was no less predictable and un-stimulating.
And then it hit me. What I was experiencing was stagnation of my imagination and spirits as a result of a monotonous routine. Every day I was spinning in an interminable continuous wheel of monotony. I needed to break out of my everyday mould. I needed to get out of the daily rut. There is always more than one way of getting from point A to point B. As humans, we are not programmed to work on auto-pilot like machines- experimenting and exploring new avenues is always a good idea to infuse freshness even in the most mundane daily routines.
Here are some simple ways to take the plunge to escape the wheel of monotony:
· Set yourself a challenge which has no association to your conventional everyday routine, and is a project for pure personal satisfaction and self-approbation. Oh and don’t forget to set a deadline, and focus energies on meeting it.
· Find a new hobby. Something you have never tried out before, something fresh, something invigorating, something out of the box, something that involves you going out of your comfort zone. Surprise yourself!
· Go for a long walk, or even better a run. A dose of fresh air and endorphins sure clears the head and gives most a buzz like nothing else.
· Make a list of all your goals. Re-evaluate it on a regular basis, because sometimes with the changes in life, our priorities change. No point in sticking to an unproductive and fruitless part of your daily routine just out of habit.
· Dissociate from negative people. Mingling with people with a positive outlook sure brings a breath of fresh air into life.
· Don’t confine yourself to a select group of friends. Fresh perspectives and thought-provoking viewpoints are a convenient side-effect of interacting with people from all walks of life.
· Dabble with a new genre of music.
· Travel to a place you have never visited before. It does not have to be insanely exotic, or across the five oceans. It could be the town next door that you have never got round to exploring.
· Update your wardrobe. The power of simple things is too under-rated.
· Express your creativity. It could be anything from trying out a new a recipe to painting with water colors.