Back to School

Blog – 8-24-17

Yesterday was the first day of school for the kids in my area. I smiled as I saw all the first day of school pics on Facebook. The looks of excitement, the new outfits, and the smiles of joy made me laugh. Even though I don’t have school-aged children any longer, there’s something special about this day.

It’s a day of tears for some, high fives for summer-weary mothers, and a sense of excitement at what the new year will bring.

I’ve felt every emotion I listed above myself. I loved the anticipation and preparation and taking pictures of my boys with their backpacks in their “first day of school” outfits, yet each new year reminded me that my kids were growing up way too fast.

The thing I remember most about this day, however, is the fact that school meant we were back to a routine. Summers are awesome, and truthfully my favorite time of the year; but being a creative “squirrel” type person, there’s something very comforting about routines.

I vividly remember how good it felt once my boys and I would settle into the school routine. It was as if our house breathed a sigh of relief. There was order again after the chaos of summer. Studies have proven that children do much better with routine, and as parents, I’m sure we have all witnessed this to be true.

Routine isn’t a sexy word, it doesn’t conjure up images of fun and excitement. Creatives like me tend to fight it, but when you get down to it, it’s really a good and necessary thing. It’s interesting to note that the more routines we have in our life, the more we actually enhance our creativity because we don’t waste mental energy on trivial things. I read somewhere that Albert Einstein had all the same suits in his closet because he didn’t want to waste a single thought on what to wear. That’s taking routine to a new level!

I personally have a love/hate relationship with routine. One side of my brain feels happy and secure when I have a routine. The other side of my brain feels caged in by it. There’s a part of me that loves the thrill of flying by the seat of my pants!

Yet do I really? When I stop to think about it, I have a definite routine for most things that I do, from the way I get ready in the morning to how I pack my equipment for a gig to how I go about writing a song. The order helps me not forget important things. The step-by-step processes take the stress out of the situation. The routine gives me comfort.

Really there’s no denying that routines are good. They are healthy. They help us accomplish more. They decrease our stress. They help us feel safe because they provide stability and reliability.

And just like kids need to get into a new routine every school year and adapt to different teachers, different schedules, different classmates, I believe it would serve us well to take a good, hard look at our routines periodically. As you look at your daily schedule, are there things you habitually do that are not moving you forward? Are you wasting time on something that no longer serves a purpose? Are you allowing time for you in your routine – lunch with friends, time with God, exercise, personal growth? Are your routines serving you well, or do your routines need to be revamped a bit?

The biggest question I’m going to be asking myself right now is, “Is God in the midst of my routine?”

Now that the carefree days of summer are winding to a close, I’m going to take some time to review my routines. Where do I need more structure? Where can I let things go? How can I best utilize the 24 hours I have today? Most of all I will be asking, how am I serving God in my routine?

I invite you to do the same!

Hugs and love,

Jill

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