I’ve now been going to Zumba for nearly three years. It is part of my Monday evening routine. And since I’ve been going I’ve stayed in more-or-less the same spot. I think I used to be further back than I am now. So I may have edged forward over the months. But for some reason I like to be in the same spot every week and that is just off centre slightly to the left.
One Monday, about 18 months ago, a woman politely asked me if I’d mind swapping places with her so she could be next to her friend. Being the nice (or unassertive) person that I am I heartily agreed to her request without a pause. Afterwards as I took her old position (further to the left and near the back) I regretted my hurried reply. I even started to dislike this woman. How dare she? How dare she take my spot? Did she not realise how much I love routine? Why did she want to be by her friend? It wasn’t as if they’d be chatting! How rude! I became angry with her.
Then I started to worry that she’d be back the following week and would assume that my spot would be her ‘spot’. I could have kicked myself for throwing away my spot so readily. But I also felt cross with myself for being so silly and for also finding it difficult to deal with change.
The good news is that that lady didn’t go back every week and I managed to return to my spot the following Monday. Phew.
Is being a lover of routine a bad thing? I have so many routines and rituals in my life, just like my need to stand in the same place at Zumba. If I don’t eat meals regularly I get jittery. If I go to bed later than 11pm then anxiety may follow. If we run out of cheese I am throw into a complete state of nervousness. Perhaps routine is just a way to avoid this unpleasant feeling of anxiety and uncertainty. Or is it the need to have a control over my life that is driving my love of routine? Perhaps there are some people who thrive on uncertainty? Routine can be boring.
Was Paul Auster right in saying: ‘Failure is measured by the number of routines you have’? Am I missing possible adventures and experiences by sticking to my routine?
So perhaps I should stand in the far right-hand corner next Monday at Zumba. The thought makes me shudder but it might lead me to new adventures if I do.