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Thursday, April 18, 2024
The Observer

The power of routine

I am a very predictable dude. When I’m at school, I spend my week doing homework in the same two locations and going to the gym right next to my dorm. When the weekend comes around, I end up in the same room with the same group of friends. Until I moved to Boston in January, when I was home, it would be the same story. As a Massachusetts resident, I’d naturally whip all of one mile to the same Dunks every morning and get the same order: bacon egg and cheese on a plain bagel toasted with a medium iced coffee with milk. On my ride, I’d listen to my same country playlist with Luke Combs, Eric Church or Jason Aldean filling the quiet of the empty downtown in Norfolk, Massachusetts. I’d then go to the same gym near my house then hang out with my family or two friend groups I’ve had since elementary and middle school. Essentially, my life can be boiled down to routine and stability. To some, this may appear boring, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Growing up, I used to hate the idea of routine. Run-of-the-mill everyday activities bored me and left me feeling useless. With no particular goals in mind, routine made life feel like a slow, constant stream of consciousness. Even with the best friends and family and a high school community known for its culture of brotherhood, I felt very little purpose in my life. In high school, I was able to distract myself from these lingering thoughts with TV shows or sports games that brought me out of my boring existence and put me into another’s. However, when COVID came around during my senior year of high school, the outlets for distraction were much harder to come by and I found myself with no choice but to improve my approach to my life. After surfing through the internet looking for answers, I soon stumbled upon the idea of creating an overarching vision for your life, then aligning your everyday activities towards reaching that vision. Through trial and error over the past two years, I’ve boiled it down to conducting a routine that prioritizes in order: God, family, friends, health and work. While not everyone will share the same vision, I think sticking to a routine that pushes you towards whatever yours is crucial to fulfillment. Now this brings me back to the routine I described in the first paragraph. While on paper it sounds like flowing through life mindlessly, within that routine is where I am able to align myself towards a higher end. So when I stick to that routine religiously, I am most happy. When I deviate from it, I feel that sense of purposelessness creep back in. 

As college students, it is often emphasized that we have to go out and try new things. I always hear about the importance of meeting new people and traveling to different places. While I hear those sentiments and get where they come from, I think they can lead you to neglecting figuring out what and who you’re going to dedicate your time to. The idea of just trying new things for the sake of trying new things is pointless to me. If you’re doing it with a reason in mind, that’s great. But if you’re just running around looking for that next cool thing to try, you’ll come to the harsh reality that there’s no real satisfaction in that life. If you lead a lifestyle based solely on new, exciting experiences, your life won’t figure out itself. 

That’s why I stress the importance of stability and routine. I by no means have my life completely figured out and I think only a small fraction of people do, but having a routine that leads towards the goals you know are there to stay is a step in the right direction. I know for a fact that God, family, friends, health and work will always be the main priorities for me. While the people and work may change over time, consistently working at those five things gives my life inherent meaning because those are the five aspects of my life I literally deem most meaningful. Even given its simplicity, I am not perfect with it at all, but I sleep well at night when I just completed a day completely oriented towards my highest end. With that said, I urge you to try the same. Amidst the unpredictability of college, fight back against the tide and create a stable routine and see where it takes you. 

Mikey Colgan is a sophomore from Boston, Massachusetts, studying finance and Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics (ACMS). He is an avid college basketball fan and resides in Morrissey Hall. He can be reached at mcolgan2@nd.edu or @Mikeycolgs15 on Twitter.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.