People like patterns. Routines. Set sequences of activities in hierarchical order executed at expected times during mapped out time-spans. We’re creatures of habit that way. Which is fine. It’s fine. Totally fine.
Until it’s not fine. Until it becomes an imposition on the way you fill your days and the way you distribute your energy. Because sometimes – you just don’t feel like ‘doing things the way you’re supposed to’. Some days ‘living up to expectations‘ is a chore-too-far.
(omg how clever is that wordplay on a door too far?!)
And since ‘following the herd‘ is not (and has never been) my penultimate goal in life – I have spent a lot of years teaching myself that it IS ok to (want to) override these patterns. And choose yourself and your own needs over what is expected. I suppose that’s where 2020 hypeword ‘Selfcare‘ found its birthing place.
These are the days that I personally can NOT deal with the phrase ‘have to‘. Someone will tell me ‘you have to…somethingorother‘ and all my mouth is willing to reply is (in Dutch, obviously): ‘Ik moet niks!‘ (I don’t ‘have to’ anything).
(Exactly the reason why all those management books teaching you how to be a great leader always warn against using words like ‘must‘ and ‘have to‘ and ‘need to‘)
These are the days that I cancel things. Cancel activities. People. Promises. Not in that unbearable sjw #cancelculture way but simply in the ‘I‘m scratching things from my agenda for some much needed me-time‘ way. And I don’t have to justify that choice to anyone – which pretty much means that anyone thinking they have a say in such matters gets a less than pleasant treatment (sorrynotsorry).
These are sadly also the days that I start viewing those simple, boring, household questions that everyone ask in their mindless chats as frigging booby-trapped trick questions.
‘Hey, how’ve you been?’
Is suddenly a question asked by someone who MUST be thinking I’m having a mental breakdown or something right?
‘Fine? Why? What’ve you heard?!’
And someone asking me for my plans for the day makes me feel like I SHOULD be doing something with my day, because saying ‘I got nothing planned‘ every damn time feels so lifeless. Like I should be booking my agenda full of exciting things. While we’re in damn lockdown.
‘I’m couchpotatoing and Netflixing. Like everyone. Duh. Why. Are you going skydiving into a dunktank filled with sharks or something?‘ (but that’s not a socially acceptable answer, eh?).
These are also the days when a question-out-of-interest suddenly feels intrusive judgement. For instance: that one obsession for a lot of people (dinnertime – wtf, why is that of importance to you?) triggers the over-the-top dramaqueen that is inside me:
‘What are you making for dinner tonight?’
(And then I sit there imagining their semi-shocked and semi-amused face at the silliness of that answer). Meanwhile my head will go: -Suck it. I don’t have to conform to people-who-cook. I can just order in food and that won’t make me a failure at being a human.-. While they were just interested in what would be on my plate. Whoops!
The thing is: I realize all too well that, on most of my days and in most socially accepted regards – I do not fit the bill. Nor would I want to. But I want people to think that I do (#contradictions). Yet I desperately want to make my own patterns. I hold to my own routines. I follow my own trends. #IdowhatIwant.
I WILL have dinner for breakfast (starting the day with pizza is just awesome). I will make breakfast for dinner (because pancakes are just a meal. No argument). I will answer plain questions with complicated answers (I’ll let you know how I actually am instead of going the standard ‘good’ at the how’re you? question) and I will withhold any sort of detail on a question asked out of genuine interest. I can spend the nightly hours doing daytime things and have no qualms napping away my Sundays.
And regardless how wrong that behavior is for society. For me that way of living is more than OK.
Even if that means sometimes posting silly rants like this in the relatively anonymous freedom of the web, hoping to find like-minded souls that tell you that you’re not wrong for behaving like you want to instead of like you’re expected to.