Break Your Patterns...
There's a cafe I go to at least two or three times a week. It is three minutes away from my house. I know many of the staff there by face, I smile at them and they know my order. When I sit there too, I notice the other regulars and enjoy distracting myself imagining their stories.
In particular, there's an older lady that comes in without fail every day. She is glamorous in a European jet-setter sort of way, she seems to be constantly wearing Chanel, I imagine her sitting in first-class lounges and getting her hair blow-dried everyday. She has definitely never pigged out on pizza at 2am.
However, she seems lonely and often strikes up conversations with many of the other patrons of the cafe. I once spoke to her for an hour about technology, hatred and terror and the sixties and all sorts. It is clear that she comes into the cafe for the warm friendly faces and a chat in a space that she feels comfortable in, a lovely local glow.
Sometimes our patterns and routines bring us comfort and a nurturing hand on the shoulder in this chaotic world.
However, this thought of habit and routine sent me down a rabbit hole of thought about my physical patterns and let's just say.... they say humans are creatures of habit... and well I certainly am one. One week of surveillance could tell you that I visit exactly the same shops for very similar items, go the gym at the same time, frequent the same yoga class, wake up later on a Monday than the rest of the week. I am in the same pubs weekly, the friendly staff in my local corner shop will tell you that I buy salad and rice cakes from them Monday - Thursday followed by wine and cigarettes later in the week and pasta and pesto when I'm hungover. My internet history will throw up the same 10-15 sites, my Amazon recommends list constantly recommends memoirs from Millennial women and spiritual literature. My email subscriptions are art, music, theatre, gurus and the loud women of the internet. Instagram serves me lovely online boutiques and house tat.
The thing is I like to think I have diverse interests and that I push my own boundaries and look at the world with "glittering eyes" as Road Dahl suggested and I do mostly. However I also have a tendency to follow routines and patterns that aren't necessarily conducive to my utmost creativity or doing the best for my business. I'm not talking about bad habits - we all have plenty of them - more the mundane, the sameness, the boring - sometimes following a routine which lets the world around me dull to a faded tone.
I just sometimes think we need to shock our systems, jolt our brains out of their comfy human paths which we all amble along everyday. Sometimes this can be by hearing something different, reading something different, trying to comprehend a person totally different to you. Go watch a Sci Fi film even if you hate it etc etc. I believe pushing out of those - to use a cliche - "comfort zones" can improve our creative and empathetic brains and help us to be better people.
I'm not sure that I'm ready to give up my favourite things or anything, but noticing my physical routines and patterns has really made me consider making an effort to step out of them on a weekly basis. Hey, lots of Chinese philosophers said lots of stuff about this - have a search on Instagram and you'll find many people have posted many inspirational quotes about it - and I think it honestly has legs. Even taking a different route to work can make you look at the world a little differently, it opens our eyes perhaps when we have to lift our literal and metaphorical heads up and watch where we are going.