published Sunday, September 16th, 2012

My Life: Routines fragile in fast-changing world

Corin Harpe

Each day we wake up and go through our routine. We get out of bed, drink our coffee or tea and then go to school, work, or both. Most of us live our lives by a set schedule. Each hour is planned.

Moments of impulsiveness, such as running out to dinner with a friend, are checked for impracticality. We become comfortable living our lives with a sense of security established by routine, until something happens that disrupts our pattern. At this point, we realize that routine has given us a false sense of security in a world where security is an illusion.

Our lives can change in the flip of a switch. Many of these changes come from tragedy. A close friend or family member could love you one day and then leave you the next, sometimes for no apparent reason. A death in the family is another factor that disrupts our sense of comfort. I am writing this column on Sept. 11. Many of us remember what we were doing 11 years ago when the planes hit New York's twin towers.

I was in eighth grade, and I still have the journal entries I wrote from that day. It was the first time I had seen the world stop in fear, as everyone rushed home to be with their family to grasp some sense of normalcy. During this tragedy, the biggest question on everyone's mind was what was going to happen next?

We assign words like trust, security and normalcy to these abstract concepts when they are really just fleeting ideas. But one constant in our lives is the ability to make our own decisions. When the world we know is destroyed, we have the power to create our own routine, a new sense of normalcy.

Sometimes forcing ourselves into a routine is the best that we can do. During these times of stress, I think about one of the themes within Shakespeare's play "Hamlet": action vs. inaction. Lying in bed wallowing in sorrow does nothing. It is important to get out and discover yourself.

If you have lost someone, then make sure that the best part of that person lives in you. If you have lost someone by other means, such as a breakup or a divorce, or if one of your friends just leaves you, then remember the other people within your life.

There are people I consider my close friends that I probably see once every two months, if that. My excuse for not seeing them relates to "being busy."

But during times of change, I have had the opportunity to spend time with these friends and connect with people I wouldn't normally have the chance to see.

As difficult as it is, we have to embrace the challenges that life gives us and force ourselves to establish a new routine. I always remember the quote by Robert Frost: "In three words, I can sum up everything I know about life: It goes on."

E-mail Corin Harpe at corinharpe@gmail.com.

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