They say routines get easier as you get older. That’s why adults have an easier time dealing with telephone solicitors, making grocery lists, and analyzing football games. Why is it, then, that getting ready for work in the morning is often more confusing than a “Where’s Waldo?” puzzle?
Let’s take this morning, for example. Woke up more than an hour before I needed to leave for work. Now, mind you, I have no children to get ready for school, my animals were already fed, and I didn’t have to dig through the basket for clean underwear. I took a quick shower, made my lunch, grabbed a banana, and ran out the door. I didn’t do the makeup thing or the curl-my-hair thing. And I still was almost late. Checking out my main campground (where I work), others looked so smooth and…mmm…together. The guys were groomed, the gals were fresh. Few (if any) look as frazzled and windblown as me.
Time Management, you say. I swear I am proactive. It’s just that my time is lost somewhere in Einstein’s Relativity Time Dilation Theory. This morning I managed to slice, salt and paper towel eggplant for dinner; throw an excess of grapefruits in a bag for company distribution; and even took time to select jewelry to match my top. But somehow I still managed to look like a bag lady schlepping bundles in the back door of work.
Get Up Earlier, you say. I don’t know about most of you, but 5:20 a.m. is already pushing the sanity button. Seeing as I woke up at 4 a.m. anyway (when various cats and dogs chose to share my side of the bed), you’d think I’d have the stamina to get up and get going. Right. My husband showers, shaves, dresses, feeds the dogs and cats and fish, makes himself a breakfast sandwich, lets the dogs out again, brushes his teeth, checks the weather, and leaves for work all in 35 minutes. What’s up with that?
Be More Organized, you say. Pick out your clothes the night before. Make your lunch the night before. Take a shorter shower so you don’t have to put your makeup on in the warehouse bathroom. Color-coordinate your jewelry (gold together, silver together, rhinestones together) so the choices are quicker. Now you’re getting to the edge of implausible. How would I know what I’d be hungry for at 12:30 p.m. the next day? What if the shirt I wanted to wear suddenly sported a ketchup stain? What jewelry would go with that?
Enlist Help, you say. That he-man who flies through his (or her) morning chores can pick up a few more tasks along the way, too. Knowing my tendency to move slow (so I don’t forget anything), I should have him double check the stove and curling iron before he leaves to make sure they’re turned off, have him make me a sandwich while he make himself one, and since he’s superman and out to his car long before I take my vitamins, maybe I’ll have him start my car as well. That way I don’t have to drive the first couple of miles peering through a strip one scraper width wide.
Accept It, you say. The more you fight your routine, the more messed up things get. What is the purpose of a routine if you don’t stick to it? Realize that you do stick to it ― you just interpret the parameters of these things your own way. So you don’t always remember to bring the bills to drop in the mailbox. So you don’t remember to pack bottled water or the book you read until one in the morning. So what? Has anyone ever mentioned your non-ironed shirt or your pants that occasionally ride up your calf because of static? Not really. Accept that, even though the field has been filled with obstacles, you have managed to stay within the safety of the goal posts.
Look ― the things your friends worry about have nothing to do with what you brought for lunch or if your hair was cut too short. Friends are more worried about what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling. How your family is doing. What you’re doing Saturday night. If you’re feeling okay and if they can do anything to help you feel better. Those who judge you by your rigid adhesion to schedules don’t understand who you really are. So they don’t matter. Respect the rules, abide by the ones that can get you in trouble, and strive to keep the rest.
Don’t Worry About It, you say. Now, that’s about the most sensible advice you’ve given me today.