a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound
a regularly recurring sequence of events, actions, or processes
I’ve lost my rhythm. And no, I don’t mean the shake your booty and get funky on the dance floor kind of rhythm. Although to Mrs. Troutdog’s great disappointment, I’ve never had that kind of rhythm. What I’m talking about is a flow, a sense of order, a comfortable pattern to your days. Rhythm is different than a routine. A routine is simply repeated behavior. Waking up at the same time every day, eating oatmeal, and drinking exactly one cup of coffee is a routine. That’s a micro-view of your day. Rhythm is a macro-view of your time.
Rhythm is planning out workouts for the week. Rhythm is looking forward to and participating in an activity you enjoy on weekends. It’s a sense of order to your time. It doesn’t have to mean you eat pasta every Tuesday and meatloaf on Thursday. Instead, it’s a feeling of being intentional about your meal planning. It’s sense of enjoyment from exploring a new restaurant every Friday night. Rhythm is the collective whole of your day-to-day time. It’s having a sense of purpose to your weeks and months.
Up until this last year I feel like I had a comfortable rhythm. Work was a known entity. I made a point to get a run or a bike ride in most days. Mrs Troutdog and I had our individual activities, and we were good about making time for shared activities. Winter was a busy time full of skiing, wood chopping, and evenings by the fire. It was a good rhythm.
And then some pretty big disruptions happened. Nothing horrible, just life throwing a few curveballs. The end result was that we’ve been in random mode for quite some time. We went months without a kitchen, eating pizza and burger patties off paper plates in our laps while sitting in the backyard. Constantly changing plans to wait for contractors that never show up. Strange weather that went from rain and mud to 100 degrees seemingly overnight, straining my motivation to do outside activities. I missed much of the ski season due to construction woes. I had an odd back injury that slowed me down for a while.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s all first world problems so I can’t really complain. We’ve just about sorted through most of the things going on and life is slowly getting back to something more normal. But as we were going through this, I found myself more and more out of sorts. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why my mood was so off, so often. I finally realized it was that loss of rhythm. I’d lost that comfortable pattern to my days.
Everyone experiences randomness from time to time. Random can be exciting. Vacations and travel are random, that’s part of the fun. But it’s also exhausting after a while. Thats why you have that deep sigh of contentment when you get home. It’s that comfortable sliding back into your rhythm.
I now find myself in an interesting position. I get to create a brand-new rhythm. Sure, some of the old familiar patterns will return. But it’s time to move on to a new flow, a different set of patterns. All of us do it from time to time. Moving to a different city. Kids going off to college. Retiring. It’s part of life.
I need my rhythm back. But it doesn’t need to be the old rhythm. Finding a new rhythm is a good thing. It’s growth. It’s preventing stagnation. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like yet. There will be more exercise. More cooking. More music. More reading. More creativity. And nachos. Definitely more nachos.
Are you happy with your rhythm? Maybe it’s time for a change?