(or You Can’t Always Get What You Want Need)
One of the ideas rattling around in my head before the election madness took over had to do with routines and the impact of disruption to these orienting, centering, reliable constructs that make up most of our lives. As a parent, I know I bemoan any disruption in my children’s routine, be it a snow day, a holiday break, summer vacation, even the weekend. We all know that children usually thrive on routine, when they are fully aware of plans and timings and expectations and what comes next.
I suspect many adults also function better on routines, but for some reason we aren’t allowed to openly admit that. As adults we are somehow expected to better withstand the changes in routine, to be able to adjust the sails and keep the boat from capsizing. Even if it’s a tricky maneuver, we must try to make it look easy and effortless, even in the face of gale-force winds.
I’m likewise certain that the recent election results are unsettling to so many precisely because we are entering unchartered waters, and have no idea of where we are going, or how we will get there or what the ultimate outcome will be. The routine of life as we know it has been completely disrupted and we may never settle into a new, predictable routine again. Responding to rapid changes may become the new norm.
For me, the theme of therapy this year has been disruption in routine. It started back in April when my therapist took a much-needed sabbatical abroad. I didn’t begrudge her (too much) this time away, but I did anxiously count down the 25 days she was gone. Then we ran into a 21 day stretch at the end of June when I was away and another 20 day stretch at the end of the summer when our vacations misaligned.