Is Groundhog Day (the movie) really a curse? Some people call it a rut; I call it a comfortable routine.
If you come within minutes or inches of death, and you know it, and it doesn't change you, there's something wrong with you. Which is a little bit amazing, if you think about it, since we are all, from the moment of our birth, dying. Constant awareness of the fact, of course, would paralyze most of us, so we live our lives without thinking too much about it. When your mortality (or that of a close loved one) is rubbed in your face, it makes you step back, think and take stock. Sometimes that means you change your behavior, or your outlook, or your personality. The changes aren't always visible. But if they're not there, you're not paying attention.
And that's the biggest problem; most of the time, we aren't paying attention. Last week was my 56th birthday, which means I have experienced roughly 20,000 days. You can leave out the first three thousand or so--what do you know before you're 10? But since then, how many of those mornings have I appreciated? I mean really, consciously appreciated? At a weight loss seminar once, the leader told us that some people say your real age is the total amount of time you've spent in the moment. She was 40; she figured her real age was four. I think mine is about two.
If I am lucky and typical, I've got another 7,000 or so days ahead of me (14,000 if I'm extremely lucky), but no matter how you cut it, my future is behind me. I intend to appreciate the heck out of each and every one of those days, because whether they are "good" or "bad" is simply a mental construct. The fact of life, the hope of the future, means that whether I am deliriously happy or miserably sad, I am alive, and that is fact one.
We all know people have a limited ability to keep an idea in mind, to maintain a state of awareness about a single subject. In short, things wear off. I hope my gratitude won't wear off, that I won't go back to taking life for granted, but I know the odds are stacked against that, and that chances are I will go back to being the way I was before, drifting through life and not grabbing it with both hands. Only time will tell.
Which brings me, via a circuitous route, to the idea in the heading for this item. I have a very high boredom threshold, something I have in common with Herb Caen. He reportedly had the same breakfast for 50 years; Special K and a banana. It didn't bother him. I have two breakfasts: oatmeal or microwave scrambled eggs. I alternate them. That doesn't bother me. I eat the exact same lunch every day. That doesn't bother me either.
In fact, if you've lost 60 pounds and have figured out how to keep them off (eat less, exercise more), the more similar every day is to the day before, the better off you are. Disruptions, serendipity, departure from the routine--these are bad things. They get you off your stationary bicycle, throw off your calorie count, and take "making up for." I'm not going to stop living, but while some people would call my routine robotic, I call it life-saving, which takes me back to the first comment--being alive is job one. I feel like an alcoholic; today is one year, two weeks and a day since I came back from "rehab" at Duke, and I am still in the desirable weight range they set for me. I will stay in that range, no matter what it takes. Routine? Pfeh. I snap my fingers at routine.