How are these winter months treating you? I admit that this corner of the year (January – mid-March) is perhaps my least favorite. I live in Boston; this means that the nights get longer in early November and going outside without a jacket isn’t really an option after September. Although it gets cold and stays cold early, this weather doesn’t usually really start to bother me until January. I love the holidays, so the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s marathon is a perfect distraction from Boston’s New England weather.
Now, however, in January, I am no longer planning or looking forward to upcoming festivities. (Note, I realize that MLK day, Chinese New Year, and Valentine’s Day fall into this time, however, these holidays do not inspire the same spirit of celebration within me that the fall/ early-winter holidays do). To combat the humdrum, I am doing my best to try new things, meet new people, and visit new places. I have hit the ground running on my goal and have traveled around Boston and abroad, as well as have signed up for new activities including hiking (more on that here). While I have had fun with my new activities, I feel that my day-to-day life still leaves something to be desired. One interesting dimension of “new things” that I have not tried yet is to change up my routine. I am a very predictable creature. I commute to work every morning at the same time, I eat the same breakfast, perform the same tasks at my job, and could go through my evening ritual blindfolded. Perhaps living in my rut is making the winter months seem even more tedious.
In an attempt to spice things up, after work today, I got a spicy almond milk latte (caffeine free!) at the Harvard Arts Museum cafe. While I didn’t see any art on this visit, I did sit in the beautiful atrium and work on my laptop until closing time. All things considered, this was a tiny, yet significant detour in the course of my day. Just working on my laptop in the afternoon from a cafe rather than from home is the sort of little change that is necessary to make my day-to-day routine something to look forward to instead of something to simply follow.
For me, I know that it is important to make slight deviations to my routine. Once I get comfortable in a routine, I become attached to the lifestyle. For example, every morning I walk to work. My routine is so regular that I usually arrive at my destination within the same five minutes everyday. In fact, it will make me feel stressed if I arrive any later than my usual window. This is clearly a problem, yet it is still hard for me to break a habit. Even as I write this, I am not quite sure whether I will deliberately sabotage my perfectly timed morning commute. However, I will continue to think of new ways to deviate from the normal and make the cold months feel less stale and more exciting.
Even when holidays and days off do not line the calendar, it is still very important to have something to look forward to. Perhaps it is not a holiday that we need, rather a day off from our routines. Dear Reader, I wish you exciting, unpredictable, and warm days ahead of you.