After reading Heidegger’s Being and Time, check out my post on Heidegger—“On Reading Heidegger”—I thought about my constant struggle with routine and how I can mitigate the “pain” of living a routine by reminding myself of one thing made clear in Heidegger’s discussion of the quotidian. We are human beings living in this space and in this time—this between—so we should forget about the beginning (what I relate to the past) and we should forget about the end (what I relate to the distant, distant future) and we should live in the now (a state that he refers to as dasein: “being there” or what we might just refer to as existing.) Essentially, dealing with the quotidian and “curing” ourselves of the mundane world that exists on routine means going with the flow without the inner turmoil of a disturbing past or a stressful future. In the end, I decided I did not love the book (for other reasons,) but what I did learn helped me in my search to find ways to deal with the quotidian and “cure” myself of the pain of dealing with a routine. Here are five things that I’ve summed up as my method for dealing with what afflicts many free spirits such as myself: the quotidian (everyday living.)
1.When people say, “live in the here and in the now” they mean every word of it. One of the most difficult things for me to practice is living in the here and in the now because, like many others, I am a worrier and there are times that I can’t enjoy life’s small moments because I am thinking about tasks at hand, due dates, family problems, etc. That’s why I make it a priority to practice mindfulness by truly engaging in the moment that I am in when I am in it.
2.Practicing mindfulness means enjoying even the smallest moments. Every morning, I make myself a cup of coffee and I make it a priority to enjoy both the process of making the coffee and drinking the coffee itself. So enjoy those small moments and life’s simple pleasures! Another one that I enjoy every day is the smell of the perfume I choose to wear on that day. I love perfume, and for me, it is a ritual to put it on every day. Proof that rituals don’t have to be boring.
3.Be aware of your surroundings. Whenever I am riding in a car, I make the effort to let go of all technology and just focus on my surroundings: the streets and their names, the trees, the sky and the clouds, the other cars, etc. I also do this when I go to the beach: I put my phone away and I just listen to the sounds of the water and smell the salt water. Focusing on my surroundings helps me engage in the moment.
4.When I eat, I am mindful of how I prepare my food and how I eat my food. For instance, breakfast-time is my preferred meal prep of the day, considering I mostly rely on myself, so preparing a sandwich isn’t just preparing a sandwich. If I am making a grilled cheese, I try to make it different each time: this morning it was a swiss and fig grilled cheese and it was absolutely delicious. And when I eat my food, I try to savor each bite without rushing through it. Mindfulness isn’t just about meditating, it’s about fully engaging in everyday moments that make up our lives.
5.It was important for me to establish a routine when I decided to take a break from school, and I established it over a period of one month. But two months in and I start to dread the routine. I desire to be in school–I love school–I think to myself. But I also remind myself that it is necessary to take this time and use it to overcome my crisis. The choice I made was to wait until the Fall semester and continue on my track to get my Bachelor’s. Having a routine means that the specific routine won’t last forever. Routines change as we change and our life changes. It is important to think about the purpose of a routine–the quotidian we must “spice up” ourselves.
To deal with the quotidian, bask in what you enjoy that you do every day and remember: let’s not rush through the necessary process of a routine. We’ve established it for a reason.