• Dana Sayre

Tuesday: Exit the Routine

I am the definition of a creature of habit. I like routine. I like starting my day with a workout, (typically yoga or running). I like eating oatmeal packed with fruit, chia seeds and nut butter. I like working comfortably on the computer. I like committing to a series on Netflix, where I don’t feel like I have to meet new characters. (currently on season two of Mad Men). Routine is comfortable to me.

Once upon a time, every one of my days pretty much looked the same. Work-traffic-yoga-dinner-repeat. At least that’s what it felt like. Fast and boring. I LIVED for the weekends, a small section of days that weren’t controlled by time. I had space. I embraced creativity. I loved opportunities to cook something new, see something different, to play. My husband would kindly remind me that life was short and it was unfair to (me) to JUST live for the weekends. I would need to find a way to bring more joy into life.

*Take 9 month pause for cancer-land*

After the war in cancer-land, everyone’s routine was shaken. A new family dynamic was born. Rob and I went from newlyweds to “insta-parents” responsible for helping Kate create a new routine and find balance in her life. (Backstory: Kate had been living with Mom for the last 30 years and now her sister, brother-in-law + 4 cats were all shacking up together). There was also a need for “new” jobs and new responsibilities. Our nucleus was gone. Our person to ask advice, was physically not on Earth. The adjustment was A LOT for everyone.

*Insert trusting yourself. Listening to your inner voice. Breaking the routine*

Today is Tuesday. Kate wears several hats now. She works at A Space For Kate; cleans at Y2 Yoga and on Tuesdays, she works at Zab’s place, organizing the clothing donations. If I am defined as a Creature of Habit, Kate is the epitome of routine. It makes her feel safe. And I get that. So this level of change and new that she is embracing is AWESOME. (A neighbor recently commented that Kate seems so happy and embracing life) Mom would be proud.

Things that come easy to you and me can be more challenging for Kate. She is learning to be more comfortable driving herself to downtown Matthews. On this particular Tuesday morning, she drove and I kept her company in the passenger seat. Kate just needed a little comfort and confidence. I get that too.

My sister does a beautiful job driving and parking. Her confidence has gown. We wave each other off, agreeing to meet at the car after her shift. I decide that rather than going home for a few hours, I will walk Squirrel Lake Park and tune into a podcast. I open my Spotify app and turn on Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. The episode is just what I need today. A discussion about brain health and exiting the routine.

Dr. Rahul Jandial, MD, Ph.D. is a dual-trained brain surgeon and neuroscientist at City of Hope Cancer Center in Los Angeles. Rahul sits down in the attic to discuss intermittent fasting, emigrating from India as an eight-year-old and how he redirected some of his negative qualities into positive ones. Dax wonders if it takes a certain level of arrogance to choose brain surgeon and Rahul gives a breakdown of the human body as it relates to mechanics. The two talk about modern approaches to fighting cancer and the importance of keeping the brain stimulated.

My life (our lives) have organically metamorphosized into something that is all BUT routine. Dr Jandial talked about the importance of changing your routine to sort of “wake up” the brain and find creativity. He suggests driving a different course, see something new, do something different. We are not meant to live in a state of Groundhog Day.

It’s a wink from my Mom. This hippie-dippy life we are creating is the right choice. I am supposed to grow my creativity. Sure, I’m nervous…But I am also awake. A creative life is not just meant for Steve Jobs and Andy Warhol. It’s meant for my life too.

I think about the importance of my walk. It’s someplace new. It’s Tuesday and I am taking a leisurely walk because this is where my life has taken me.

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