The Cold Penguin

expanding the box

The good and bad of routine and lists

on January 7, 2014

I feel like I’m stuck in a world of routine and lists.  In some ways, that’s great.  I know what is coming, what I need to do, and when I need to do it.  I am very bad a flying by the seat of my pants.  I need a list to tell me what to do.  Coming up with something to do usually occurs to me when I’m waiting for something – at the doctor’s office, working, waiting for dinner to finish in the oven.  It’s never at a time when I can actually do it.  When there is a whole day ahead of me that is a completely blank canvas (like today), I go blank.  Nothing on my to-do list?  Well, I guess I’ll clean the house again today.

Yes, lists, schedules and routines make sure I get things done.  Otherwise I’d forget to clean the sheets weekly to get rid of my biggest nemesis – dust mites (severely allergic!) or I’d forget to call and make a vet appointment to get my sweet girl’s kidney panel done.  (I have a 13-year-old beautiful beagle/dachshund mix who has early stage kidney disease).


Isn’t she so cute with salt and pepper muzzle?  Love her so much!

But the thing about lists and routine is that the items are rarely fun.  Looking at my post-it notes and email reminders to myself is a snooze fest.  Write the invoice for work.  Buy eggs.  Pick up dry cleaning.  Get a new towel rack for the bathroom.  Blah, blah, snore!

So how do you add more fun and excitement into your life and fit it in to your normal routine?  I feel silly asking that question because I am not a full-time employee, Mom, do-everything’er that so many women are.  I work part-time – working from 0 to 3 hours a day.  I am a housewife, but if I ask my husband to do anything he will.  (Asking is the hard part – yeah, such a typical woman!)  No kids right now, so no driving to daycare, school, soccer practice, doctors appointments, friends houses, etc. and the only extra dirt my dog brings in are after rainy days (yucky paws from her walk) and shedded hair around the house.  So I HAVE time.  You wouldn’t think it wouldn’t be that hard, but it is!

Maybe I’m thinking too big.  Maybe it doesn’t have to be some big day trip adventure.  Maybe fun can be something that I can do in 10 minutes, or in my own backyard.

So, as Gretchen Rubin asks, what did you have fun doing when you were 10 years old?

Things I can remember bringing me joy:

  1. riding bikes
  2. swinging at the playground
  3. playing in the pool
  4. writing short stories (and illustrating them too)
  5. making friendship bracelets (do you remember those??)
  6. creating artwork on the computer and playing computer games
  7. listen to music and pretend to be singing along (hairbrush microphone and all!)

So, can I try to incorporate those into my life.  Absolutely!  Translated to adult would be:

  1. Ride a bike.  I don’t own one but we have a great bike borrowing program locally I can use to get my bike legs back.
  2. Who says adults can play on a swing at a playground?  Also, just playing tennis, tossing the football or Frisbee, and playing tag are great ideas to have some fun outside!
  3. Swimming.  As I got older and have contact lenses, swimming has become less fun and more challenging, but I can give it a try again.  I have goggles.  And if I’m not enjoying it, then on to the next idea.
  4. Writing – blogging.  Done!
  5. While I’m not sure if I’m going to jump back on the friendship bracelet bandwagon or grab a rainbow loom, I can try to learn to knit or crochet.
  6. I don’t have the fancy computer imaging software, but I have paintbrush.  That’s enough to have a little fun!  And I have games galore on my phone, tablet and Wii.
  7. Music always makes things a little happier – more music please!

Looking for more ideas.  Check out this list.

Now I’m off to sing into my hairbrush – join me, will you?  Here’s a song for inspiration!


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