When I was locked in the hospital I had difficulty knowing which day of the week it was. Most days seemed like “Groundhog Day.”

“Groundhog Day” is a movie where the main character Bill Murray wakes up each day to the exact same events; he is caught in a “time loop.” He realizes his predicament and tries to take advantage of the situation since no one else is aware of it. Finally he uses his situation to improve himself and those around him and eventually breaks the “time loop”.

Routine was supposed to be my friend. It was supposed to provide me with stability. In essence it was stagnating and presented a wide path to boredom.

Most of us are creatures of habit and subject ourselves and others to routine. I can appreciate how chaotic the world would be if we all woke up at different times but routine can be slumber itself. How much of the world goes unnoticed and unappreciated when we travel the same roads at the same time? We have the ability to find the unique even in routine but often the result is a string of days we pass through unaware of ourselves and our surroundings.

When I was a child repetition was used to sculpt my behaviour and knowledge. As a patient it seemed only to chip away at my spirit. I did not despise all of my regularity in part because I could not see it. I was unable to step to the side of myself with a view of me leaning against the same wall in the same hall waiting in line for medications. I was fairly content to wait for the food trays to roll down the hall with Saturday’s special. My most poignant recollection of routine was watching people form a line for medications. This wouldn’t be unusual normally but the evening line was almost always formed before the medication cart was present. People stood behind each other in front of nothing waiting for sedation. Routine may lead to productivity and continuity but it can slowly ruin a person who has no escape. We each have an inner clock but the bell does toll for thee and there is so much to see.

Is routine nature or nurture? Are your habits tied to the sun and moon or do you sway to some man-made tune?