Egg day, cereal day. Gym day, pool day with bath, shower, respectively. That’s where I am right now, in my happy ruts. You could call them routines, but that sounds too positive. We say “in a rut” as if that’s a bad thing. Much of the time, we love our ruts, seek them even, for the pattern they give our lives. Their slight walls keep us in line, conforming, settled.
Knowing we need variety and stimulation, we take vacations. A few days, a few weeks, and we are ready to come back to the familiar comforts of home.
When something happens that shakes us out of our ruts, we feel upset and long to return to those activities and places we consider normal and comforting. The image isn’t of being on a smooth path that is disrupted by hard going; it’s a bulldozer erasing the ruts we have so carefully organized.
Apparently, the internet agrees with my opposition and offers article after article, three to fifiteen ways, on how to get out of your rut(s). I will take my inspiration from the roadside sign in Alaska that reads: “Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for the next 200 miles.”
Rather than get out of my ruts—what’s the matter with egg days?—I will add some better ruts. Writing daily, for example. These could be called making good habits, of course. A myth abounds that it takes 21 days to make a change permanent.
Something I like better is a study in which 500 pieces of classical music by 78 composers were ranked by position in years in the career. What emerged was a 10-year gap between beginning and greatness for all but a few pieces which emerged 8 or 9 years in. Mozart was one of those composers. He starting composing at age 5, for goodness sake. The principle is called “10 Years of Silence.” If that doesn’t sound like a rut, I don’t know what does. Diligent practice, inherently boring, produces results. Sort of throwing the ball at the goal doesn’t.
This comes a long way from what I had for breakfast. Part of the miracle of thinking, I guess. My goal is to get into some of those better ruts, obviously. The pleasant feeling of something holding me up on each side beckons.