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alice-in-her-gardenI noticed recently that my life seemed a bit boring. That got my attention. After all, I’m retired and the world is my kingdom, there is no room for boredom.

Really it had become a bit “routine”. No, more like hum drum. You know what I mean. If it’s Monday at 10 am, I’m at the grocery store. If it’s Thursday at 9:30, I’m at the pool. Routines, routines, love ’em or not, they are who we are.

Most of us that is. And for those who only clean house when it “looks” dirty, or shop for groceries when there is nothing left in the fridge? Well, no need to bother reading this. You don’t suffer from “getting in a rut” like the rest of us.

Now if you are still working outside the house at a regular job, you know exactly what I mean and well, there isn’t a lot you can do. I mean you’re supposed to be in the office at 9:00 am. You work until 5 pm.

But if you are retired like I am, or not confined by a work schedule, then you have done this to yourself. Most of us do. I certainly do, and frankly I like routines. I front-load my week with all the things I don’t care that much about doing, and get ’em done! Still, I do find myself succumbing to too much living by the clock. Ahh, it’s 2 pm, time to read something for half an hour!

And of course, the days become things to be gotten through until you wonder, why am I not experiencing the joy of life anymore?

The best solution I know is to kick-start the routine. It doesn’t mean abandon it by any means, it means to tweak it here and there. Suddenly the days seem “new” and interesting again.

For example, I used to walk the dog first thing in the morning. When daylight-savings-time hit, I was faced with walking in the dark or waiting for an hour. Since on Mondays and Tuesdays the walk was followed with certain housework chores, I decided to do an hour’s worth of housework first thing in the morning until it was light enough. How much nicer the walk when I knew getting home didn’t mean hauling for the mop and dust cloth. At least a hour’s worth was already done!

Sit down and look at your days. See where things can be arranged differently. Make it a game. If you are like me and delight in “delayed gratification” see where you can tuck in chores you don’t like to do, and how you might reward yourself for having done them. Try not to use food as the reward unless you are not having weight issues.

It doesn’t take a lot of juggling really. Just a little something here and there to “change” things up just enough that the day seems a new experience and not a replay of “every” Monday or Thursday.

And don’t completely overhaul your schedule. If you are like me, you’ll want to do this every four months or so anyway. You only have so many major revampings in you. Just enough each day or at least 4-5 days of the week to brighten up things.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Change the order in which you do chores. Assign some to other days where feasible. Pair the really boring chores with good rewards to follow.
  2. Work out a new walking route. Maybe you have already got the best that you can conceive of, so just once or twice a week use the new one.
  3. Add a new hobby to your repertoire. What have you been thinking about as something that might be fun. Buy a book or magazine about it and set aside some time to read about it further and make some plans for the stuff you will need.
  4. Plan ahead for holidays or birthdays and start now to make a gift for the occasion. Plan the menu for Memorial day, or decorations. Plan a scrapbook gift for someone you love.
  5. If you’ve been reading a lot of books you “should read”, grab a great classic in literature and spend 30 minutes every day dedicated to just reading for fun.
  6. Create a special area in your home or garden for “contemplative” moments with a cup of tea, coffee, or a book.
  7. Pick up an “inspirational” book at the library or bookstore. Eckhart Tolle or Marianne Williamson are good choices. There are dozens you might think of.
  8. Do a small renovation project in your home or garden. Do it slowly as you need to, with lots of planning and internet shopping. Work out all the details and then set aside a bit of time each day to work on it.
  9. Change the time of meals if that’s feasible for you. Use the good china for one meal a day. Eat in the dining room if you usually eat in the kitchen area. Or make it a “picnic” or meal at the “beach” on the living room floor.
  10. Light candles in the bath, or anywhere else in the house in the evening.
  11. Change the time or place where you meditate. If you don’t do that, then set aside fifteen minutes every morning to just sit in your garden and enjoy the flowers or vegetables growing.
  12. Vow to clean a closet every week until you’ve gone through the whole house.Organize your “don’t need that” pile into a garage sale.
  13. Call an old friend you haven’t seen for ages and plan a get-together.
  14. Make a few incremental changes in your diet or eating habits.
  15. Practice mindfulness as often as you think of it. Animals always live in the moment, every moment. They experience their emotions as they occur. The same is true of babies. They live in their moment-to-moment experiences until they are old enough to learn what “no” “not now” “later” and “after” mean. Then they, learn to do  what we do, to live in yesterday and tomorrow most of the time. The world changes dramatically when you are actually engaged in it. Start engaging in NOW.

Share with me what you do to change things up when things get humdrum. We’re all in this together you know.

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