Lamenting the Loss of Routine

My work schedule looks extremely irregular. This week, for example, I had a rehearsal from 8-10pm on Monday with a Jazz band, an out of town show with a Rock band from 11-12:30pm on Tuesday, and a rehearsal with a different Jazz band from 6-8pm on Wednesday. Tonight I am playing solo guitar at a restaurant from 6-8pm, tomorrow I am giving a guitar lesson from 5-6pm, and Saturday I am playing at a wedding from 4-5pm and a party from 9:30-midnight. Next week I may not have any gigs. A variable schedule is typical for the musician and flexibility is a must have trait.

Certainly there is some temptation to just utterly embrace this irregularity, working hard when I have lessons, rehearsals, and gigs, and just taking it easy when I don’t. Yet I’ve learned that I thrive on a regular routine. I am sharper, more productive, and generally happier when I have some level of intentional day to day consistency. Though I can rarely choose exactly when and where I am going to have performances and rehearsals, I can choose what time I am going set my morning alarm— I choose to set it for 5:55. Ideally, I wake up, write my “morning pages”, do a quick Chi-Kung routine, eat some breakfast, then spend the next four hours practicing and preparing for whatever gigs, practices, and lessons are looming. I usually feel relatively accomplished after this, and reward myself with lunch and a much needed nap. When I awake, I am ready to proceed to whatever musical exploit is scheduled or available for that evening (this is when the irregularity creeps in). When I am finally finished with all the day’s musical tasks (often very late at night), I blog about it and go to sleep.

Once again, that is my “ideal” weekday routine. I stayed loyal to it the first three days of this week, and it felt great. Yet last night I stayed up late with a good friend, skipped my blogging session, and went straight to bed. As a result, I slept through my 5:55 alarm this morning and didn’t wake up until 7:30, feeling guilty. I did some Chi-Kung, but not my morning pages, ate some breakfast, started struggling with this blog post, and talked with my roommate about how much is too much information for this blog 😉 as well as the relative merits of U2, Vampire Weekend, and Steely Dan. I am still struggling with this blog post. I feel out of balance and slow-witted and I want to stop writing. I want my routine back.

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