Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – email@example.com
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Routine is comfortable and safe. You know where you are. It’s nice to be able to find the things we want; to know where they are in the house; to know which shelves they are on the supermarket. It can be disconcerting, even quite upsetting, when the supermarket decides to move everything around, or if your partner puts the scissors in a strange place so that you can’t find them.
We all need a certain amount of order in our lives, I think because it helps us to feel secure and in control of things. Imagine if, waking up in the morning, somehow all the rooms in your house had moved around, that when you found the kitchen there was a family of wombats living there, that everyone had started to speak a different language. Suppose, like the main character in Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, you woke to find that you had turned into a giant insect. It would be unsettling, to say the least.
But on the other hand, a “groundhog day” scenario, where everything repeats itself exactly, would be equally difficult to deal with. However good your repeating day might be, I think it would soon start to become monotonous. And if it were a bad day…! I wonder what it must have been like for soldiers in World War I, waking every day to the same living hell.
We need routine, but not monotony. We need variety, but not chaos. If we think of this as a continuum, between “Groundhog Day” at one end and “Metamorphosis” at the other, we will each be comfortable at different points on the line, some preferring more routine, others more variety. As well as that, some of us will be more adaptable than others, will be able to move from our preferred point on the continuum more easily. If we think of the continuum as a colour spectrum, some people are a single, fixed colour, while others are chameleons.
It can be easy to envy people who are different. Someone who likes variety and change can think how nice it would be to be able to tolerate routine, to be able to carry out repetitive tasks without getting bored. Someone who likes routine can see other people’s lives as much more exciting and interesting than their own boring but comfortable existence. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the hill of course, but it is worth remembering that the person on the other side of the hill is thinking exactly the same.
“A change is as good as a rest”, they say, and it can be refreshing to visit the other side of the hill from time to time. It’s nice to go away on holiday, to do something different, but coming home can be nice as well.