CAMPBELL: Breaking from a routine can bring about a smile

Carlie_newThere is something beautiful in a routine. While we may dream of exciting, unpredictable lives where we live moment to moment, acting on impulses and going on spontaneous adventures (I’m going to go out on a limb and assume I’m not the only person who thinks like this), there is comfort in a schedule.

Perhaps this is the type-A part of my personality showing through, but as someone who wore a uniform to school for 12 years, played sports with weekly practices and looked forward to sitting down at 4 p.m. every day to watch Gilmore Girls in high school, I appreciate my schedules.

Maybe what makes having a regular routine so appealing is the ability to break out of it every once in a while. It’s always exhilarating and a little empowering to do something unplanned.

I remember missing half days of school for doctor or dentist appointments when I was younger. If my mom was feeling generous, going out for lunch followed the appointment. It was always a very strange, exciting feeling to be out and about in the city instead of in a classroom during the school day. The world looks a little different when you veer from the normal.

I love having a set schedule; it will probably be one of the things I miss most about college. I enjoy writing down my class times, meetings and work shifts in my planner (yes, I’m one of those people who loses a little bit of my functionality when I’m caught without my planner). The same class Monday, Wednesday, Friday, my standing lunch date at noon on Mondays, Tribune meetings every Thursday evening, sorority chapter on Sunday nights – these are all things I look forward to and plan my life around.

A lot of pleasure in life can come unexpectedly, as well, from something you didn’t even know you were supposed to look forward to: an impromptu trip to Chicago for the evening, an invitation to a show, that on-the-fly decision to go to the Public Market instead of the AMU for lunch.

The saying “it’s the little things” comes to mind when I think about schedules and lunch dates, but these are some of the little things that make a big difference. An unexpected something extra to smile about can seem unimportant and small, but I’d never turn down something to smile about.

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