Tag: repetition

Repetition is not boring, not really

I often have weird thoughts while driving in the morning to the Wolverhampton School of Art. Perhaps I should rename this blog ‘Weird Thoughts I Have on the M54’. Today’s weird thought happened on the M54 and it was about how repetitious and dull life can seem, yet in fact it isn’t.

The M54

Driving to Wolverhampton earlier today I pondered my daily routine: wake up at 7am, eat a piece of orange chocolate, drink coffee, pick up my phone, scroll through facebook for 10 minutes, read for 10 minutes, go to the toilet, get dressed, wake children up, make breakfast, listen to my favourite music of the month, make a packed lunch, sit and scroll through Facebook a bit more, put makeup on, brush teeth, read in my pink chair for 10 minutes, gather children, scroll through Facebook while they get ready, take them to school, scoot home, drive to Wolverhampton, park, get coffee, go to studio…

I could go on, and this routine can be repeated, with small variations, for almost every week day. It feels as if it won’t change. It feels as if it will never end. It feels as if it is here to stay. I know I will do the same next week. I will also do the same next month, and even next year. However, if I transport myself 13 years ago, my routine was vastly different. It’s difficult even to see a gradual change from then to now. My routine then was as follows:

Wake up at 5am with cranky baby, feed cranky baby, put cranky baby to bed, go back to sleep, wake up when cranky baby wakes up, feed cranky baby, take cranky baby to toddler group, feed cranky baby, return home, put cranky baby to bed, eat lunch, go out when cranky baby wakes up, feed cranky baby…

As you can see, this routine is very different to my current one (and notice, no mention of Facebook).  The routine above, somehow, morphed into my current routine. Of course the obvious thing to point out are that the cranky baby grew. What’s more, he was joined by two more, who also grew. Then as they all gradually grew, I found a new purpose in life: art in Wolverhampton, and work. I moved house. I changed. I became different. I became the current me.

I can’t quite imagine how my current routine will change into something new in 14 years from now, even though I know it will. It has to. Life does change, gradually. And I have to keep positive, for all the mundanity of my routine now, I do actually quite enjoy certain aspects of it and I know that I will look back in 14 years from now and miss the eight-year-old world view my eight year old has now, the jolly ride up and down the M54, the ladies in the Starbucks on campus who know my name and most of all my little studio space in room MK711 which is my ‘man cave’.

My man cave

So I should stop resenting routine, and embrace it, and capture it in my mind, if that is possible, before it has morphed and changed into something else, even if that something else is better.

Repetition is good, endings are bad, but they have to happen

I now have just two days left to live. By that I mean, just two days left to live in Shrewsbury and the weird thoughts are flowing at the moment.

I am currently obsessed with repetition. I am looking at the philosophical notion of repetition in my artwork for my fine art degree and it spills over into my everyday life. When something happens to me that is related to repetition, I analyse it, consider it, churn it over and write about it.

Today, I have been considering the end of repetitions and how this, in particular, is affecting me.

The repetitions that will end in two days are:

  • Taking the children to their school in this town, something I have been doing for over eight years
  • Waking up in the house and drinking coffee before getting up
  • Going through the daily rounds of breakfast, lunch, dinner, sitting, watching, working, sleeping, reading, playing, bathing, weeing, pooing in this house
  • Cycling to town to have coffee
  • Cycling to Sainsbury’s to have coffee
  • Calling children from downstairs to come and get their breakfast, lunch, dinner and / or shoes on
  • Falling asleep in this bed in this room

These things will be carried out after Monday, just no longer here. I will never, ever again, after Monday, wake up in this bed in this room looking at the fireplace I can see in front of me, listening to the traffic going up and down Monkmoor Road. That repetitious act which I have experienced almost every morning for over eight years will end abruptly on Monday and I can never go back.

What I can see, right in front of me and soon that will be gone.

What I can see, right in front of me and soon that will be gone.

How does that make me feel?

The answer: extremely anxious.

The paradox is, though, that even though non-returnable change makes me feel terribly frightened I would not want to look back on my life from my death bed and see that I haven’t moved, travelled, changed, evolved or experienced during my lifetime. If I was never to move – I’d still be in Stafford right now (or, strictly speaking Upton-upon-Severn but I don’t remember living there). I’d not have experienced the wonders of a Japanese funeral, dressed as Father Christmas for a Japanese pre-school, sampled space cake in Amsterdam (I didn’t inhale though, honestly), worked with the likes of Margaret Drabble and Simon Winchester in Oxford, discovered the beauty of the supply and demand curve in Exeter, sky-dived in South Africa (nah, that one is made up) and met many, many other interesting people along the way.

Me being Father Christmas in Japan.

Me being Father Christmas in Japan.

So, how do I reconcile this anxiety / desire-for-new-adventure dichotomy as I stand on the precipice of change?

The only way is to push through the pain, hold my nose, jump and accept the anxiety and grief, and trust that things will be ok whatever happens to me next. I will develop new repetitious acts: the children still need to go to school, they still need feeding and I will, of course, still need to wake up every day.