I think sometimes we get caught up in the day to day. The everyday hustle and bustle. The routine of our daily lives that rarely waivers one week to the next.
The get up every morning five minutes after your alarm, put on a pot of water for your tea, wash your face, brush your teeth, go to school, eat lunch, do homework, maybe watch TV or workout, eat dinner, go to sleep, repeat.
After my freshman year of college I decided to take some time off to travel and once I got back into school it amazed me how quickly the days were starting to go by. Blurring into each other, one after the next. One minute I was sitting in syllabus week, the next thing I knew I was studying for midterms.
Fuck. I would think. Where was my life going?
I was out of the normal routine for so long that I’d forgotten what it was like. During that break I had all the time in the world, time to do anything I wanted.
I loved that time; that freedom from the shackles of American society. There was no homework, no looming papers or tests, no alarm clocks, no midterms. When I was traveling, time became warped completely. The reality of “everyday life” ceased to exist. In one day I could hop to another country, meet a brand new group of people, explore a museum and then dance the night away at a club. I learned more in one week of travel than I had in a year of school. Each day was precious because each day brought something new. Even in moments when I yearned for time to go faster, missing my loved ones at home, it stayed constant. Reminding me that I had more journeys ahead.
After I got back from my trip, it only took a month of being back in school before I was nostalgic for those times of travel again. It took a month for the workload to really pile up. And when that happened I became un-motivated, downtrodden; I had just experienced what life could be like with no rules and endless opportunities for exploration, and now I was stuck in the “system” of society again, and it was making less sense to me.
I started to think about why we run our world in this way. In this constant never ending cycle of work, sleep and eat. If you really think about it we begin our schooling at five years old, on the late-end. From there we spend the next 13 years in primary education. When we graduate from high school, we’re like “Yay yippee! We’re done, we’ve made it!” Then we are pushed into four more years of school, with much harder and more time-consuming work.
And now we’ve added another four years, grad school! Which is even harder, even more time consuming, and is considered the equivalent of what a normal degree was ten years ago…fuck. But after all of that, you’re done! You’ve got all the intelligence you need. You’re ready to go out into the world and conquer.
But psych! The work is really just starting…Now you’ve got a big kid job, a 9-5, Monday through Friday. A job you may be working in for the next 40 years.
If time is going by fast now, when we get to flip-flop around to different classes and move from house to house every year. What’s going to happen when we have to go to work at the same desk everyday, and back to the same house every night? Will time just keep flying by? I came to the realization that yeah…it probably will.
I decided that I needed to do something about this, something to make time slow down, and allow me to appreciate each minute without just letting them flit past. If my minutes were passing me by without me noticing, then maybe I needed to be doing something with those minutes to make them more meaningful.
Maybe I needed to be spending more time outside, instead of cooped up incessantly scrolling through Facebook. Maybe I needed to be reading a book, expanding my mind instead of shrinking it by watching TV. Maybe I should extend my lovely hour of Yoga by going out and grabbing a cup of chai afterwards and soak in that state of bliss. If my environment wasn’t presenting me with new adventures, maybe I needed to go out and find them myself.
A wise yoga teacher once told my class that each time we went through our flow we should do it a little differently than the time before. She told us that our bodies get used to a routine and then cease to benefit from it.
I don’t think you can avoid the day to day. But I do think you can avoid time passing you by. My first piece of advice in doing this is to switch things up, move around, search for adventures in unlikely places. Take advantage of the time we have when we are young to take breaks. Traveling after my Freshman year was one of the greatest choices I’ve made so far and I have more breaks planned in my future. I plan on studying abroad, I plan on picking up again and traveling after I graduate. I plan on moving to a couple of cities in the US before settling down anywhere. I plan on taking advantage of the time I have because taking those breaks is only going to get harder. Maybe you don’t have the travel bug, maybe you don’t want to move, then I urge you to find new experiences within your own home. Eat at a new restaurant, take a new bike route on your way to class, go to a different place to study.
Each and everyday we should try to take the normal and make it engaging. That way everyday of your life begins to have meaning.