I was grumpy last night after work — grouchy in fact. It had been a good while since those feelings came knocking, and I was left wishing I wasn’t home to answer their unwelcomed call. I felt exhausted, barely able to stay awake, irritated at anything and everything. I was just plain miserable and powerless to shake the slump, despite having taken a nap.
What I discovered by this morning as I reflected on my previous night’s episode, was that I was a creature of habit. It was something I assumed for years, but had always suppressed for some mysterious reason.
The past month had been a whirlwind of activity that included moving apartments, last-minute wedding planning, visiting and hosting friends and family from out of town, and of course the wedding itself (which was an outstandingly special day). We were surrounded by friends and family, well-wishes, laughter and smiles, hugs and stories. It couldn’t have been a better stage to start life’s next chapter. But those 31 days had taken their toll on me. I now realize just how much those combined disruptions to my day-to-day life affected my inner harmony now that the dust has settled somewhat.
You see, I’ve spent the majority of 2014 really focusing on my health and overall happiness. Physically, I was watching my diet, exercising regularly, had quit smoking (of recent, drinking as well), and taken to extra curricular sports activities to get outdoors more. Mentally, I was reading much more than usual. I studied diet and exercise, minimalism, well-being topics like thinking optimistically, and keys to adopting a more simplified life. I also sought to devote my time online towards personal growth instead of entertainment consumption.
The problem was that I had built it all around a strict personal routine. Without even realizing it, I had my daily schedule dialled-in so tight that it simply couldn’t handle the increased workload that August presented. Begrudgingly, I began swapping workouts in favour of lunch-hour errands. Dinners were often prepared by high-school kids and were presented in brown paper bags through my car window. Restless sleeps left me too tired to attempt getting up early to squeeze in the omitted exercises. Lastly, I began smoking again after 9 months of being smoke-free. I told myself it was due to wedding stress, but I now know it wasn’t. It was stress for sure, but not from the anxiousness of my wedding day, it was from feeling as though my life had been flipped over like a breakfast egg. It’s not that the month had been bad or negetive, it was quite the opposite but I was still amazed at how a few distractions really threw me off my game. I need to get better at balancing my life on the fly and learn from this experience so I am properly prepared next time.
The “life off balance” realization I experienced felt great when it came because I now know how to fix it. I’ve admitted that I need and thrive on structure and routine. Whenever such words are uttered, I consistently associate them with authority, conformity, and boredom (probably due to my dislike of the school system). I will admit however, that the configuration really does suit me best. I guess I did learn something from my years there.