Circumstances have allowed me to allow routine into my life.
If I were to write an advertising tag-line, it would most likely proclaim:
Routine: Makes Everything Easier
My main objection to routine has always been, “It’s boring.” We ate, as a family, every evening at 5:30 pm. Sunday we had tuna sandwiches for lunch. Tuesday was the day assigned for emptying the indoor trash bins in the bathrooms; Thursday was “strip the bed day,” which later morphed into strip the beds, wash the sheets, and replace them, on all beds.” I knew what was expected, and it made my parents’ lives easier.
My no-longer-living-at-home vow was to not restrict myself; to just do things as they needed to be done. My first independent living experiences were… messy. I rarely put things back where I found them, kept multiple sets of sheets to avoid laundering every week, stockpiled magazines and cleaned only when company was expected.
Routine, although seemingly boring, becomes manageable once a pattern sets in. One key ingredient for routine is limitation. Limiting choices is a personal challenge that has become important and more comfortable for me. There are circumstances that simply do not require 17 choices. 17 choices require 17 analyzations, ranking, reanalyzing, paring to a smaller palette, and a smaller palette, and possible an even smaller palette; then, finally, a final comparison and decision A basic palette of 5-8 colors produces unlimited options; no one really needs 120 tubes of paint. We can get where we want to go to with fewer choices, a little less expensively. I admit the big, big Crayola 150-count Telescoping Crayon Tower has caught my fancy. I can’t mix crayons the way I mix paint; and I’m not discounting the possibility that layering and overlaying could lead to something amazing. I’m also not likely to hang my own crayon art on my walls, or give it away as gifts.
In any case, as I mentioned, my desire to embrace routine is coming to place where my working theory has become an almost-realized vision. Working out once a day is a routine: changing the mode, incline and speed are variables.
I tend to have the same things for breakfast: Oatmeal OR Yogurt, and a fruit.
What I want to stress is my late-bloomer discovery that routine doesn’t have to mean boring. My morning fruit could be an apple, pear, clementine, banana or grapes. Based on my rate of use, I tend to only keep three types of fruit at any time. My oatmeal could be sweetened with strawberries or blueberries, or become savory including cheese, and sometimes a small amount of leftovers. Dinner could be chicken, sprouts, and a baked pear or it could be EggBeaters with spinach, cheese and potatoes and one wild-card item, usually a protein or additional vegetables.
I also adore my FoodSaver. I standardly cook a meal for 2 or 4. I vacuum-seal and freeze the leftovers. These small stockpiles of choice are easy. I currently have cooked ground beef, pork roast, steak and chicken ready for the after work-out dinner grab. I keep frozen spinach, Brussels sprouts and broccoli, and fresh carrots, onions and peppers. I prefer fresh tomatoes, but in the off-season, canned tomatoes join canned mushrooms, olives and beans as other staples. I have nothing again fresh, except that I don’t tend to use it fast enough to avoid waste. I have a box of macaroni, a box of spaghetti, and a few cans of tuna should I ever feel the urge. I do keep emergency treats: frozen cookie dough (cooking up just a few at a time), hard candies, gum, and a cake mix, just in case. Chocolate isn’t on my emergency list because it’s part of my daily routine. One piece, every evening. 🙂
Long-lasting, shelf-stable items provide a sense of security for me. I still want freedom of choice Limiting the number and types of pantry items I maintain requires more creative use to avoid boredom. I’m pretty creative with food. Sometimes to the point that others question my taste, but as long as it tastes good to me, it’s fine. There’s lots of creativity out there on the internet – from 5 ingredient dinners to using different spices or vegetables.
I am happily sticking to what I know works for me and what fits into my SparksPeople diet plan. It makes meal planning easier. It allows meals to be made more efficiently. It makes grocery shopping easier, although I do still read the weekly ads to see what is on sale. Sometimes, there is some sort of “treat” that sounds really good, so I add it to my list. It could be a healthy treat such as crab clusters, or could be an unhealthy treat such as ice cream. Mostly, that item never makes it into my grocery cart. That’s due to another game I play: that challenge is called “Budget.”
2 Corinthians 8:15 As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”
Quote for the Week:
Enjoy this week’s discovery links:
Vacuum Sealing Guidelines: http://www.fantes.com/vacuum-packaging.html
Sparkspeople (a free nutrition and fitness tracker, specialized): http://www.sparkpeople.com/