I like my rut

Two hits of the snooze button and I'm out of bed by 5:50 a.m.

I grab the clothes that I had laid out the night before, stumble out of the bedroom, and zig-zag through the obstacle course of dog chew toys scattered on the living room floor before finally reaching the bathroom to take a shower.

Assuming the pilot light didn't huff out on the hot water heater, the rest of my day is eerily predictable from there. I leave my apartment at 6:58 a.m., usually making me 1-2 minutes late to work depending on the color of the light at the intersection of Birdsall and East Main. I head straight for my desk, turn on my computer, wait for the deep “waaaa” sound that lets me know it’s powering up, then I begin typing away. Short of unexpected floods, arrests, fires, power outages, drug busts, car accidents, earth quakes, recovered bodies, stampedes, martian attacks, or plague of locusts between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., I know where I'll be the rest of the workday and what I'll be doing.

I go home between 4 and 5 p.m. I open the mail box on the front porch and separate the bills from the junk mail before going inside. Then, I spend a few hours on my graduate school work, cook dinner, feed and walk the dog, and lay out clothes to start all over again the next day.

With a few exceptions such as laundry day, grocery runs, and little miscellaneous errands here and there, my days are mostly the same. Most people would call it being stuck in a rut. Sounds fair enough. I'll admit to being in a rut. The three-letter word itself sounds boring and predictable, just like the PB&J sandwich I had for lunch. I once heard someone compare being in a rut to the story of Sisyphus. In Greek mythology, Zeus condemned Sisyphus to an eternity of useless efforts by ordering him to roll a boulder up a hill. But every time Sisyphus got close to the top, the boulder rolled back and he would have to start from the beginning.

I wouldn't dare say my life is a punishment, but the story of Sisyphus bears some relation in that the challenge I face each day is to make it through to the next. If I succeed, I'm rewarded in that I get to do the same thing the next day, and again the day after that. Hence the rut. Unfortunately, people often make the mistake of using “in a rut” and “depressed” interchangeably, which I assure you isn't the case. Fact is, I'm far from depressed. I'm merely saying, my days are predictable.

My guess? It's a feeling everyone has on occasion – that feeling of the same old, same old. But what separates me from everyone else is that I'm happy in my rut. The phrase “stuck in a rut” has such a negative connotation that it's often assumed people want nothing more than out. And while that pushes most people to look for a way out (which makes for some interesting Google searches for “in a rut”), I'm comfortable where I am for now. I’m a creature of habit. I enjoy my routine and being able to plan my day which, with the exception of a curve ball every now and then, I’m usually successful in doing. Sure, I might venture out every so often; but in my opinion, it’s nice to have a place to return. I've got my rut the way I like it, and I wouldn't change that.

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