I like to think of myself as one of those “creative types”. I also like to think of myself as living outside the box, a little unstructured, a little wild. I’m led by intuition & at times (read: all the time) I’m governed by emotions. But at the same time, there’s a innate desire for the security and predictability of structure that I think most people crave.
I’m sick of reading personality test result descriptions and feeling like I have to be either creative or structured. Why can’t a person be both wildly creative AND structured. I think successful creative people need to have boundaries and routines in some areas and none in others. Must as some of us resist it, we need both.
As I get older, life gets more complex & while I want to keep the freedom of unpredictable creativity, without routine & structure I fear that I will:
– eat spaghetti bolognese (lovingly made by my husband) EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for the rest of my natural life,
– start projects but never finish them,
– exercise once a quarter (probably after eating a whole cake on my own so it wouldn’t even count),
– wear clothes that carry the provocative scent of last week’s BO,
– never see the carpet on my bedroom floor again,
- have to settle for being a tolerable flat-mate with my husband rather than having a romantic relationship with him.
No, it’s too awful – especially the spag bog thing – there’s only so much one woman can take! Also, one day I might like to add small humans to this equation, I shudder to think what would happen to these defenceless, dependent little people without some kind of structure.
So structure and routine are not all bad. But it takes work initially to implement them, particularly when you have an unruly nature and more so if you’ve let your feeling & desires run the show unchecked for some time.
For example, for me the regular exercise thing was extremely difficult to get into after a few YEARS of doing nothing because I was never in the mood. It wasn’t until I got into a regular class with accountability and challenge that I developed a habit of going to the gym three times a week – no matter how I felt. There were times when I’d get home at 6.55pm, get changed and drive straight to the gym for the 7.15pm class before I even realised what I was doing. I had locked it into my brain that I HAD to be there three times a week, so I got there. One memorable moment was driving to the class in the foulest mood & sitting in the car for 5 minutes thinking – I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to be here, repeat, repeat. Then getting out, going in and bashing out an angry hour anyway. It felt good!
That’s the beauty of routine. It locks something in that can override the erratic, undisciplined, unruly part of us that would rather not. That part that is too busy, tired, miserable, too deep in this bag of cookies, too whatever to do the things that we should do. The things we know can make a positive difference if we could just commit & stay the course for more a three month fad.
Routine gives autopilot a chance to kick it. There must be a science to it, but all I know is autopilot is a gift from God. When you have a million complex things you’re trying to keep on top on, autopilot is a Godsend for those boring but important, low skill but time consuming things that we all have to do to survive, eat, not smell, have smooth skin, enjoy habitable homes and avoid obesity. Routines make life a little more simple and we could all do with a little more of that.