Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lather, Rinse and Repeat - The Beauty of Routine

I'm a pretty spontaneous person; every time - and I mean every time - I come back from vacation and am exiting the airport I get a sudden (and very strong) urge to run up to some ticket counter and book myself another flight to ANYWHERE and just take off and start anew.  I know this isn't the best example of my spontaneity because I've actually never DONE that (unless you count the times I compulsively booked my friend and I flights to Key West after calling him at 8am and saying "wanna go on vacation" to which he replied "what? sure." or decided, when I was traveling solo through South East Asia to skip Vietnam and just fly to Australia because I got a good deal).  However, right now - I feel my life is pretty dang regimented.  I wake up for work, work, go to the gym at lunch, work some more, go to yoga, come home, have dinner, go to bed and repeat.  Every. Single. Day.  Sure, there are fun dinners with friends, nights out, weekend getaways and other events peppered in between - but for the most part, I am pretty damn scheduled.

I called my dad this morning (as I do nearly every day - he is the best!) and lamented to him about the fact that I feel my life is  And my father, in his ever-wise (yet not pedantic) manner, pointed out that no matter where you are, no matter what you are doing - there is always a routine.  And you know what?  It's not a bad thing, at least according to this article it's not.  Routine is healthy, routine keeps you on task, routine keeps you motivated and, on a boat, routine keeps you safe.  

Cruising life isn't all tropical slushy rum drinks and pretty sunsets.  It's not all adventure and romance.  It's tough work.  Every day we will have a routine of checking rigging, doing dishes, collecting water, topping off engine fluids, cleaning, priming, checking, testing, maintaining and fixing (oh, the fixing!).  When we're at sea we will have a stringent routine in which we each spend 4 hours on watch, 4 hours off watch (or 2 hours, or get the picture) - potentially for WEEKS.  We'll check the sails, check the radar, re-position sails, make a log entry, make a pot of coffee, read, pass each other like ships in the night (pun intended), discuss what we've seen and how the boat's been sailing, change guard, sleep and repeat.  Every. Single. Day.

At sea - routine is likely the very factor that will save our lives if and when the *bleep* hits the fan.  It will be the preventative daily maintenance that we will do that will keep our boat safe, strong and "ship shape" as it were.  It is the (mundane) routine maintenance that will ensure her rigging doesn't snap (because we checked for chaffing), that her sails don't rip (because we checked for any weak spots) and her engine doesn't fail us when we need it most (because we maintained it).  The tender care we take of our little (but mighty!) boat BEFORE the storm will be the precise reason she weather it well. 

So, while I begrudge my "routine" and my (ho-hum) "predictability" - I'm thinking it is something to embrace (thanks Dad!).  Perhaps it keeps me running smoothly and prevents pandemonium in my life.  Perhaps it is actually preparing me for what lies ahead. That said - I'm not going to start making daily cruising spreadsheets.  As in everything in life - there must be a balance: while no routine is chaos, too much routine is a rut.  And we don't like ruts.  So I'll go ahead and stick with my rinse and repeat cycle for now - but I won't give up my dream of buying that last minute plane ticket to Bali just yet.

Brittany & Scott


Ken n Cheryl said...

You are not alone! We're glad to hear we're not the only ones in such a routine of exercise, work, home, dinner, bed. But, it's worth it now for the future of cruising. We figure home during the week nights means less money spent, more money saved for the boat.

Lisa Hanneman said...

Whatta guy... Full of wisdom, your pops.

Your life might feel routine now, but it's far from ordinary.

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