Wallowing in routine

I would have made an excellent airline pilot, other than having no coordination, no flying abilities, a rampant hate of airports and a fear of heights that kicks in from 7ft 2in upwards.

Where I would have excelled though is with all the checklists pilots use. When I write an article I have a checklist; when I do the shopping I have a checklist; when I do the cleaning I have a checklist; when I go away anywhere I have a checklist. I have checklists for my daily tasks and I have a meta-checklist that lists all my checklists.

I’m very routine-based and I have been known to get irritable when my routine is interrupted. It’s fair to say I don’t like stepping out of my comfort zone too much.

This is very much at odds with my younger self who was a much more spontaneous and adventurous person. I am not sure when I changed in this respect, but I’m a different person now, at least in some ways.

I have quite an obsessive-compulsive nature, which may contribute to the comfort I get from routine. It controls all parts of my life. I exercise on the same days and at the same times every week. I eat roughly the same things most weeks, and often on the same days too. I can’t abide surprises and struggle to understand how anyone likes them.

I also have a dreadful memory these days and the only way I remember anything is by creating diary entries for scheduled events and, yes, adding anything else to a checklist. Whilst I can remember pointless facts about obscure bands from 40 years ago, I’d struggle to remember what I did yesterday.

Life, though, tends to throw things at us from time-to-time and I can actually accommodate such things as long as they can be scheduled. I need plenty of notice of any event that will break in my routine so that I can schedule it via a checklist. This makes it tolerable — just. The thing is, I quite often enjoy the ad-hoc events themselves. It’s the idea of breaking routine that bothers me, but I’m usually good to go once get past that bit.

It takes all sorts. I have friends who despise routine and would absolutely hate my life, but, by and large, I’m quite content with my tedious, routine-based life. So there. Leave me alone.