I'll confess that in my latter senior years I enjoy routines. I mostly prefer my daily rituals. Lately our household has been in a bit of chaos. My usual routine is arising at the preferred hour of 8:00 AM, followed by a small shot of cranberry juice while I do my back exercises, drinking two cups of hot water with my mini bagel. By nine I am on my recumbent stationary exercise bicycle for an hour of mild spinning while I read the digital versions of the Syracuse Post Standard and the New York Times. There are more elements of this morning routine that I will not bore you with but I love the groove and flow of familiar activities. However our rhythm has been upset lately with a bathroom renovation and grandchildren visiting. My wife and I have struggled to adapt to the intervention of our quiet senior life. We have a limit to the amount of stimulation we can tolerate.
I am guessing the many of my neighbors are also grooved into routines. While riding my recumbent bike I am able to view the street from our sunroom. During my 9 to 10 AM ride I notice a red haired neighbor making her daily walk on a street that encircles our group of houses. By my timer, she makes the circuit in about 9 minutes. I frequently see another neighbor make this circuit walking here dog. Her ritual is 9 laps. Her dog often drops out half way through! I also note that along with the red haired neighbor walking the circuit there is an Asian-American neighbor that does the same circuit in the opposite direction.
Although I am grooved into my current routine, I am sufficiently flexible to move to other routines based on the season. It is now summer but when winter arrives and skiing starts I will change to other daily rituals involving exercise on the ski slope rather than on the recumbent bike.
I suspect it is healthy to have routines, but not be so rigid you can't adapt to new situations. Aging seems to reduce ones ability to adapt to change. In spite of the sometimes jarring effect of change I like thinking that each day is a gift. That keeps me excited not only about what is routine but also about new possibilities for my life.
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