Spring has arrived and with it, your ticket home. You’ve enjoyed your winter down south, but it’s time for you and your buddies to head back.
You have a long journey ahead.
Time to go
The sun rises on a new morning. You were up long before that though, impatiently counting down until the flight. The others have slept long enough. Time to go! You hop over to the group with excitement and whistle at them to rise and shine. Tweeeet, tweeeet, tweeeet!
Your friend nearest you opens her eyes slowly with irritation. She was in the middle of a great dream. And now she’s not.
“Let’s go!” you say.
The return flight
The sun is now high and you’re in the air, flying home.
Maneuvering in a sharp V-pattern, you maintain the second to last spot on the left side. Your friend, the one whose dream you interrupted earlier that day, is in front of you.
She looks back for a moment. You signal to her. Sighing, she slows her pace so that you can catch up.
“What do you want? I’m still mad at you, you know.”
Change of plans (or so you hope)
“I was thinking… what if we broke off from the others for the day? We know where they’re going and we can easily catch up with them tomorrow. That way we-”
She cuts you off, “What! Split up from the group? Why would we ever do that?! We just started the trip!”
You explain that you all do the same thing every single day. Forage, sleep, nest. Forage, sleep, nest. Even your vacations are repetitive. You fly south every year. Where’s the spontaneity? The mixing up of routine? The trying of something new?
Are you in?
Talking down to you, she explains, “We do the same thing every day, every year, because it works. We do it because it’s the best thing for us to do.”
“Yes, I know, but there’s no harm in taking a little detour. I built my nest using the scraps of a book. I’m well-read! And that book told me that, while routine is good, it’s equally good to try something new for the sake of variety. So that’s what I’m going to do. Are you in?”
She’s silent for a long time. Then suddenly she issues a loud shriek, letting the others know that you’ll catch up with them later.
“So I convinced you,” you say through a grin.
“No, I just don’t want you to get lost. You’re terrible with direction. That’s why you’re always in the back of the group. Where did you have in mind?”
Your day at the beach is exactly what you needed. A break from the repetition of the foraging and such. Sure, you love to forage. You thrive at it. But everyone could benefit from variety every once in a while.
The sun sets on your day in the sand.
Rested, rejuvenated, the two of you meet up with the others before noon the following day. No harm done, but a lot of help. Now you can get back to foraging, sleeping, and nesting with renewed vigor and drive.
All it took was a change in routine.
Moving forward with variety
I love having a routine. It allows me to be my most effective, productive self. However, there is tremendous value to be gained from breaking up the schedule occasionally.
Otherwise, that routine can quickly become stale, which leads to other problems.
Counteract it then by switching things up. You don’t have to do anything major. Try going for a run in the morning instead of the afternoon. Pick something up for lunch instead of making food at home. Or watch a movie at night instead of reading.
Variety keeps things fresh. When your schedule is beginning to sour, switch things up. If only for the day.
Have fun at the beach.