Last time we thought about traditions this time I am going to think a bit about routines … stuff we just do because … well … because we do. We always do.
If you have been reading these blogs for a while you may remember that I like to run. I used to run a lot, now it’s kinda tailed off a bit, but I still get out there regularly, but not quite so much mileage.
When we were at sea it was a bit awkward to get the miles in as it was 10 laps of the upper-deck to the mile, at one point I was doing 10 miles a night (100 laps … ). Lets say it could become a bit tedious, especially as there was only two places to overtake slower runners … and there were all sorts of hazards: all sorts of fittings on the deck, guns and stuff in the way like the sea boat, refuelling points at head height and my personal favourite other sailors opening solid metal upper deck doors in your face ..
Anyway, my routine was to get the miles in at 1800 it seemed to be the best time when most of the runners were all about the same pace. Every day we were at sea, I would be up there. It was quite a good routine to be honest, there was basically nothing wrong with it. However because of the constant sharp turns to get round the deck there was a hidden problem with this routine. You were constantly turning the same way and it knackered your knees even more than just running on metal decks that were constantly moving! So although the routine itself was good, if you followed it constantly it became problematic. So, there was a variation to the routine … we simply ran the opposite way on alterative days. Clock wise / Anti-clockwise. It worked. A simple change to a set routine that prevented it causing grief – although of course this became part of the routine … but hey all analogies fall over at some point ..
Routine is generally a good thing I reckon. Last week we talked about traditions at Christmas .. ‘traditions’ are often wrapped up with ‘routine’ it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference. Routines can often carry us through a dark period, or when the going is tough, for me that period at sea between 4 – 7.30 pm when we had the evening meal was the worst part of the day. My routine of running helped me through that time, but without the tweak to my routine by alternating the direction it would have become harmful … One thing that can become routine at Christmas is the Office / Work ‘run ashore’ when everyone has too much beer and tries it on with the secretary or something. You going on the office run ashore this year? Have too much to drink last year? Nothing wrong with the routine of going … maybe give it a tweak this year and slip in the odd orange juice.
So as we draw even closer to Christmas not only think about traditions and how they can detract from the main message, but also how routines can put you into the habit (another good word!) of doing something for the sake of it which can become harmful, but with a small tweak can become beneficial and carry you through tough times (Spending time with God is a classic where the routine of 10 minutes with God can help you through when you don’t wanna do it, but when you spend the ten minutes gazing out of the window maybe you need to tweak what you are actually doing … but that’s for another blog).
Image Credit: Nikola Jelenkovic