There are many mornings I wake up and the day ahead of me doesn’t look that different than the day before. And tomorrow doesn’t promise to be much different. It’s as though I’m trapped in the movie “Groundhog Day,” repeating the same duties, wearing the same clothes, eating the same food, surrounded by the same people. My days tend to be filled with good, truly good, parts. But the monotony of the routine can make them drag, keeping me from relishing the good life in front of me.
It might be called boredom. Or predictability. But sometimes I just want to mix it up a little, so I don’t resent the life I’m living out. So that’s what I did. In a nine-month experiment to love my actual life (the one that is here, right in front of me), I worked on loving the mundane in my midst. I focused on a different area of my days, some practical, some more general, one month at a time. If I need to drive kids to school, make lunches, keep the house clean, get some work done, I might as well have fun doing it right?!
Small changes were my focus. And one month in particular I focused on fighting boredom with adventure. Another with creative expression. And another with meal planning (because I was so sick of trying to think of something to make for dinner!). And I found changing it up, even in the smallest ways, helped my most common tasks feel new and fresh again.
When I asked my friends what they did to mix up their days, to add a little adventure in the midst of the ordinary, here is what they said:
- Stay in a hotel in your hometown.
- Create a meal around a new ingredient.
- Drive home a different route.
- Sign up for a class (or watch a class on YouTube) to learn something new.
- Support someone else’s adventure.
- Rearrange the furniture in a room.
- Take public transportation to a new neighborhood.
- Visit a new park or trail.
- Dress up for dinner (fancy or theme-related).
- Go “treasure hunting” at garage sales.*
My little people thrive on routine. But sometimes I feel as though it suffocates me. They don’t need to know that this experiment I’m conducting is going on at all. I can keep naptime consistent, while creating my own little mix of adventures that will break the boredom down. One small change at a time.
*(List from “Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me,” Baker Books, 2016).
As a mom to four girls, Alexandra Kuykendall’s days are spent washing dishes, driving to and from different schools and trying to find a better solution to the laundry dilemma. She is the author of “Loving My Actual Life, An Experiment In Relishing What’s Right In Front of Me” and “The Artist’s Daughter, A Memoir.” A city girl at heart, she makes her home in the shadow of downtown Denver. You can read more of Alex’s everyday thoughts and connect with her at AlexandraKuykendall.com.