Thursday, August 22, 2019

Hamster Wheel

You know, sometimes you just get in a rut.
Being a student, stress seems to worm its way in when you start school again. More than that, you suddenly get back into a routine. Sometimes that's a good and bad thing.
Okay, I know this sounds like my breaks, West Point, and pick-me-ups posts. This is yet another facet in a balanced Soldier life. Bear with me.
Routine is essential. Many Soldiers thrive on routine. Otherwise life has TOO much change in it, and we go crazy. Your chronic pain, ADD, autism, whatever, pretty much any Soldier thing requires a specific routine. If you stick to that routine, things are great! Yay! You manage your challenges and you thrive.

The danger, as in most anything, lies in going to extreme...
well, except for devotion to God. And Little Debbie snacks. But those are my opinion.

There are two extremes of routine: lack of it, or the more common. I call it Groundhog Day, or hamster wheel. Most people just call it a rut.

The trouble is, too much routine, and you seem to live the same day over and over. All too common when, taking longer to do pretty much any work, Soldiers' hobbies fall by the wayside.

There are two ways, usually together, to combat this. I'll cover them in the next two weeks.

The first is this: Find little ways to make days more distinct. Have something to look forward to. Book outings, read a book a week, trying new food — any tiny thing can spice up your life and give you reason to get out of bed. You don't need much time or money, either. I'm a big believer in using what you have. Only have your lunch period? Bring a pack of cards and teach your friends crazy eights. Me? I recap my day in my journal, with lots of color and flare. And I read. One time I read The Tell-Tale Heart on a Sunday afternoon, just for kicks.

Man, I'm a nerd. ANYWAY, point two.

Skills and your "thing" can be immensely valuable here. Keep in mind, though, you can have MANY "things," and not all of them need to be used in this rut breaking way. Many can't, or even shouldn't, be used this way, because of the relearning curve, your schedule, your Soldier Things, or your finances. What you use as your "spice" in life does not have to be the thing you're good at or do for work. In fact, I discourage the latter. It just has to been something fun you want to do more of that would make life less like a hamster wheel.

That being said, has your "thing" been neglected recently? Do you want it back? No? Cool! Drop it, find something awesome! Yes? Brilliant! Go for it, and while you're at it, do something new with it. I had to write a historical narrative for my English class today, and it totally got me thinking that I should write historical stuff every once in a while. I never do acrostics, and I did one for each of my parents this week. And a few weeks ago my friend and I were making up stories using emoji. This kind of experimentation? Can apply to any "thing," if you're not sick of it.

In summary: Life does not have to be the same day, every day. Pick up old interests, or try new things. Use the time and money you have, with the limits you have. Small attempts to switch things up can have a big impact. You'll be off your hamster wheel in no time. 

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