first you set the routine and then the routine sets you

I’ve been wearing my earbuds everywhere I go lately. Music while I exercise and podcasts while I eat and then white-noise-ish background stuff from an app called Focus@Will when I’m working. Apart from that I’ve been barking at Alexa to play this or that song while I’m getting dressed or cleaning up. I take my phone into the bathroom so I can listen to music while I shower.

Don’t think I’ve sat in total silence for a while.

            But the earbuds I’ve been using for most of this, which are allegedly $90 but came “free” with my phone, just broke. They’re tangled up on my desk at the apartment and for the past 48 hours I’ve been moving around the neighborhood just listening to the sounds of the neighborhood, and it’s been kinda cool, because even though I’m hearing all the horns and chatter, the rumble of construction and the panhandlers shouting and the guy who plays a saxophone for money outside Publix, I’m still not quite listening to any of it, and whereas last week I was maybe the habit of mouthing lyrics as I walked or wrote or got dressed or ate or cleaned or showered, I’m now in the habit, at those same moments, of, like, appraising my day. Thinking about what’s gotten done and what remains and scolding myself for not doing more.

            I do still need to watch these movies, though, so I will eventually have to replace those earbuds. Should probably do it sooner than later.

            But then I was thinking about my budget and its margins and while I could totally make some adjustments so that $90 is easily put to the side, I’m thinking about how it’ll disrupt my ~$25/day spending habit and I’m not so sure I want to disrupt it.

            Morning is coffee and a bagel for $5, or sometimes a Big Cuban Breakfast for the same amount, and then I get a little more coffee someplace else for $2 or $3, then I usually grab a $6 or $7 lunch, go back to writing somewhere, then in the evening I’ll burn $8-$12 at happy hour, come home, have some ramen and (if there’s a bottle to be had) a glass of whiskey and watch some YouTube and go to bed. Maybe a date on the weekend for like $50-$75.

            Bliss. If you gave me a million dollars to spend each day I’d probably just switch to a nicer apartment in the same part of town and keep the exact same routine. Probably also go to nicer places on dates and pick up the tab with friends here and there, but otherwise…

            If I were to cut into this routine for like a week, even just stop going to happy hour, I’d have the cash in hand for a new pair of earbuds in no time.

            But I don’t want to do away with happy hour. I don’t wanna pack a more cost-effective lunch, I don’t wanna downsize from two coffees to one – and I know that it sounds petulant and undisciplined, like my fists are balled and I’m stomping my feet about it, but I think the place I’m coming from is more like…I’m willing to do without in order to keep my routine — which, ultimately, is the thing that brings me most joy. Like if we were talking about rent, or the electric bill, then yeah, of course, no more happy hour until the dues are paid. But if it’s just a question of like, I could REALLY benefit from a new pair of earbuds, then ahdunno.

Fuck it?

Leonard Cohen eating a popsicle.

            Without being superstitious I do kinda feel like my creativity, my productivity, are glued to my routine. Granted, I have to mix things up occasionally so that I can have something to write about, but I feel like cutting into my routine is the same as cutting into my creative output, my peace of mind, my momentum.

            It’s a wonderful routine and it feels like the key to my getting as much shit done as I presently do. Don’t really wanna fuck with it.

            But yeah, no question about it, I should definitely replace those earbuds.

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s