Back To Normality?

I boarded the plane at Denpasar Airport at the beginning of the month, full of surprised excitement. I say surprised, because I had been relatively enthused about getting away in the first place, to remove myself from the metropolitan hysteria for a brief stint, and to recharge.

I greatly enjoyed my time in Bali, in particular the last few days spent in relative isolation. It was incredible to get to spend time with my brothers and sister-in-law; as I reflected on the plane, I realised that as with places you long to return to, the people whom you long to be around keep moving forward regardless of your presence; we all have our own responsibilities, passions and interests, and as individuals we continue to grow. It was amazing to see them all doing so well, and to hear of their recent adventures. They inspire me every day.

But, I digress.

So, I was ready and more than willing to return to Shanghai and get back to normality. (I never thought I’d use those words together in a sentence!) I suppose it’s just like Shem said, the holiday has served its purpose if afterwards you feel ready to return.

But that feeling of excitement encouraged me to look a bit deeper, and pose a few questions. I mean, how often have you boarded a return flight after a holiday or extended break away and said to yourself, Thank Jaysis, back to a bit of normality now.

What is that?

Of course, there are the people who are awaiting our return, and the “home comforts” that we have been missing out on whilst away. But these factors didn’t really apply to me; I’ve been away from my loved ones for quite some time now, and chicken fillet rolls are hard to come by here. No, I think a huge part of that sense of normality is brought about through the routine of our day-to-day lives.

It’s something my brothers and I talked a lot about both whilst on the island, and since leaving. As much as some people may knock it- labelling these daily set patterns and pre-planned activities as predictable, non-adventurous, and/or boring- there is much to be gained from having a routine.

Say what you like, I enjoy waking up knowing that I have things to do, and ways in which to do them. I like knowing that I have certain responsibilities- a schedule of sorts- and I get great satisfaction from being productive within that schedule. What allows me to do so? Well I think the fact that I have a routine, and habits formed therein, certainly helps.

It’s not perfect for sure, and it’s a constant process of tweaking and experimenting in order to find something that is healthy, nourishing, and most importantly, sustainable, but I guess that’s all part of the magic.

That then brings me to a related point, one of how much is too much? Some regard it as a badge of honour almost- the busier the better. OK, but is it good busy?

Being busy usually comes with negative connotations, but it’s not always bad. I’ve had a crazy few weeks myself largely due to the fact that added to my usually packed schedule, was the arduous task of moving apartment; I literally haven’t stopped since I got back from Bali. When you’re in the thick of it, certainly it can at times be tiring and even stressful, but looking back it was a productive few weeks.

Granted- and apologies for the fact- I haven’t perhaps written as much as I’d like, but thankfully I’m finished moving now and things are settling down, and rest assured that time will be set aside again for writing. Worry not, dear reader.

That’s another thing worth mentioning- actually more like two things that go hand-in-hand- independence and stability. There is a hell of a lot to be said for having a regular few pound coming in every month, and to be able to come home to your own space after a long and productive day; a place you can call your sanctuary. I have to say that upon reflection, and I know I don’t take note of this often enough, but I’m incredibly grateful that I can do the above while pursuing something that I enjoy and am passionate about. I’m always learning and there are always ways in which I can improve and develop and do things better- that includes improvements to my daily routine and habits.

I consider myself very lucky if even just for the awareness of this fact.

So to those of you who value routine I say, more power to you. Keep using it as a vehicle for progression and development, and like anything in life, keep seeking out ways to improve. And if you are going to be busy, ask yourself, is it good busy? Are you filling your schedule with activities and responsibilities that nourish your soul and provide you with a sense of purpose? If not, why not. Finally, embrace the normality- whatever it represents for you.