By Chris Fleming
Sky diving, drag racing, falling in love ... all pleasures of rarity – exhilarating circumstances that cause intense emotional pleasure. When one experiences such a stimulant, the brain releases massive amounts of serotonin, the catalyst for such overwhelming euphoria. And these elated feelings can be addictive.
The problem with addictions is that the joyous feeling of the initial use becomes fleeting with subsequent uses, leaving one to chase the next high, even at the behest of important life constraints. I have spent (wasted) a good part of my life chasing emotional highs, and have come to realize that these stints of ecstasy are not built to be endless – no amount could ever be enough.
However, the comfort of the once-euphoric scenarios may transition into a more sedate appreciation of a repetitious process, if one allows. I have thrown myself into this line of thinking and achieved a true appreciation for the routine parts of my life. At an age where I definitely have solid routines, a normal Monday goes as follows ... I get up, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, go to the gym, hang out with friends, buy music from ear X-tacy, read or write at Heine Brothers’, iron work clothes for the next day and go to bed.
To most people, this may sound like a boring day. But to me, it is paradise. I have fallen in love with routine, because within it, I find excitement. I never know what music essential will be in the “Used Bin” of the record store – this could be the day I score Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” for four dollars – how exciting the prospect. I never know what horizons will be broadened by the latest book, who I will see while sipping java, or what brilliant idea will flow from my caffeine-stained fingertips. Appreciating the status of the mundane opens one to life’s great pleasures – the experience of events brought forth by the cosmos. How awesome it is to experience something given to you by a higher power, implanted into your process, without feverishly chasing a pleasure that is prone to evaporation?
To normal humans, the notion of loving the mundane sounds ridiculous and unattain-able. People with such notions are truly missing the secret ingredient: The routine has to be packed with things you love. People constantly seek artificial thrills because their life has been compacted with duties and events they find melancholy. Due to laziness, complacency, fear or apathy, they have pigeonholed their lives into multiple forms of discontent. If your job makes you miserable, get one that makes you happy – or at least one that doesn’t make you dream of putting a gun to your head. Stop taking on obligations you hate, pursue your passions and take time to make them part of your reality.
When one starts filling their life with what makes them happy, routine is never mundane. And while the occasional exhilaration is welcome, it will not be a necessity, because the everyday pleasure of happy repetition will be enough.