A week of trying new things brings new perspectives
October 17, 2016
Everyone has a routine. The three alarms you set to get up in the morning or the shortcut route you take on the way home to keep a sense of familiarity from day to day. However, after being super busy for a month straight, it was hard for me to tell where one day ended and another began. That is why I decided to spend a week breaking mine.
To see how much of a difference it would make if I changed up my routine, I planned a school week of doing everything I usually do, different from how I usually do it.
Monday: Something Musical
Music gets me through the day. I have artists I listen to in the car, playlists I turn on in class, and genres I play while studying. However, my archive of music is limited to the genres and artists I know I like. For Monday, I asked one of my friends with completely different music taste to make me a playlist of songs I’ve never heard before.
The playlist had music styles from Miranda Lambert to Dean Martin, and surprisingly, it was not hard to find some that I really liked. I found myself paying more attention to what I was listening to and appreciating the music more than I would when I put on a familiar artist.
When I was listening to “Buona Sera” by Louis Prima, I was stunned by how a song made 60 years ago could still be so cool and catchy. New music brings a fresh take to an ordinary week, and that is something I definitely want to replay in the future.
You can listen to the playlist I listened to here.
Tuesday: Something Energizing
On a regular week day, it is typically pretty late when I am setting an alarm for early the next morning. I know I am not the only one guilty of not getting enough sleep; the cycle is easy to repeat over and over again with the promise of coffee the next morning or a nap the next afternoon.
However, I wanted to know what would happen if I made sleep a priority for a day. Because I set an early alarm, I had to go to sleep much much earlier, which meant actually making an effort to get homework done as soon as possible.
Ten hours of sleep later, I found myself much more productive throughout the school day. I wasn’t just looking at each class as an hour closer to going home and getting back in bed; I was more attentive, more energetic and had a noticeably happier day.
If I did not have mountains of homework and obligations due the next morning, I would keep this up as much as I could. From now on, I am going to choose a day each week to get more sleep in, because my body, brain and health will thank me for it.
Wednesday: Something Friendly
Just a day before, I had been called into the school auditorium along with the other 700 students in my grade for a senior class meeting. Looking around the nearly packed room, I realized that I actually knew very few of the people that I am going to graduate with in a few months.
Conflate that to the entire school and I know even less. Today, I decided to make that number a little bigger by walking the halls and talking to people I had never seen before. Although some conversations were more awkward than others, I felt like I was making an effort to know more of my school before I leave, which was bittersweet.
I talked to a freshmen about one of her classes, which sounded harder than any of mine were freshman year and it was cool to remember what it was like to be in that place. Some students in a leadership class told me about their projects on topical issues like women’s rights and the upcoming election, and it was interesting to talk to the people who are becoming leaders in our school.
Thursday: Something Disconnected
By far the hardest day to complete was Thursday. Initially I wanted to go technology free for the day but I quickly realized by first period, when I had to complete an online assignment, that that would be impossible. So instead, I logged out of all of my social media accounts (yes all of them- Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.), something I have never done before, to see how much I was really relying upon them.
I was really surprised by how much I depend on my phone in a day. I counted three times that I looked for my phone before realizing I had left it at home. There were some times throughout the day that I found myself having opened a social media app, completely out of habit. I was a little disappointed in myself but each time I became more aware of what I was doing.
I did come to one important conclusion: being without social media makes procrastination so much harder. I did my homework as soon as I got home and was significantly less stressed by the time 10 p.m. rolled around.
Friday: Something Tasty
I bet you guessed this one pretty quick. I have my favorite foods like everyone does but there are some things I would never usually pick up on a trip to the grocery store. To break my habit of eating the same food everyday, I spent under $10 at Sprouts and picked out three new foods that I could eat with each meal.
With breakfast, I had a prickly pear, for lunch I added an almond butter bar and my dinner was accompanied by kale chips. I would call this one a learning experience. Or in the case of the kale chips, a ‘I wish I had not learned’ experience.
The pear was very sweet and was actually a good addition to my breakfast, and the same could be said about the almond butter bar. Were they amazing? No, but the new foods definitely added something to look forward to throughout the day.
Food is something that has no limit and is easy to experiment with; it is easy to try something new off any restaurant menu or pick up something at the grocery store. However, what’s harder is taking something you doubt you’d like and giving it a chance- but I’ve found it’s a thrill that I’ll continue to taste-test in the future.
For a busy week that could have easily blended together with the ones before and after it, trying something new every day actually made a huge impact. I can remember exactly what challenge I undertook and when I was doing it last week, simply because I was paying more attention to myself and those around me.
As for the future, I hope I can continue to make time to try new things because it would be great to have something new, be something ordinary.