While reminiscing with friends about the fonder moments of childhood, Mr. Stupid, Mrs. Stupid, Buster Stupid, Petunia Stupid, and their dog Kitty stumbled through my mind. This 2D family, the silly stars of a 4-volume illustrated series, were a few of my many favorite book characters way back when. What’s not to love? Author Harry Allard and illustrator James Marshall pair ditzy dialogue and goofy drawings in such a way that readers always get a chuckle, at the very least.
To stir up the nostalgia — which I believe is necessary and most beneficial at times — I revisited The Stupids Die, a tale about how when the lights go out, the family thinks they’re dead. I realized that the family’s eccentric thoughts and actions somehow extend the permission to lighten up and laugh at our moments of… well, sheer stupidity. Like the time my sandal slipped and I very loudly slid down the entire set of stairs in the silent school library. On my butt. In a skirt. With several students staring. Low moment!
A certain page caught my eye:
Breakfast in the shower, as usual. Very interesting.
I began to think about my “as usual” breakfast routine and then let my mind wander to consider the other routines that characterize my days. My personality really appreciates (needs? clings to? depends upon?) structure, and naturally gravitates toward creating it. “Free spirit” souls – those who feel bound up by schedules and planners and repetition – are fascinating to me. They seem to float so effortlessly. I like to think I’m pretty adaptable… just be sure to give me enough notice to plan and prep for and the required adjustment. Ha!
In other words, my routines can easily edge toward rigidity. Several months back I had a conversation with a wise woman, sharing my struggle of feeling too tense and too tight. It wasn’t so much a physical sensation – though it likely manifested in my body, as well – but I just sensed that my life lacked the level of spontaneity and creativity that I longed for. The comfort I usually found in routines had turned into a cage. The structure that usually gave me a sense of being in control began to feel like it was controlling me.
After listening, that wise woman (who definitely could relate to my experience) shared a tip that has proved very helpful. She encouraged me to consciously switch things up, even when it isn’t necessary to do so. Fix a unique breakfast. Read and meditate in a different spot than usual – like in the shower! Drive a different route to work. Leave my packed lunch at home and invite an acquaintance out for an impromptu meal. Use different spices. Explore a street I’ve never seen. Style my hair some way I’ve never dared. Use unfamiliar equipment at the gym. She showed me how the opportunities to rebel against rigidity are endless…
Thank you, Stupid family, for this much-needed reminder. Does your routine ever become a bit too rigid?