Rhythm: (noun) [ri-thəm] 3a: movement, fluctuation, or variation marked by the regular recurrence or natural flow of related elements.¹
You say routine, and I hear same. That’s boring. You say rhythm, and I hear flow. That’s magic. Routine is my middle name (or possibly Andrew), but I want to live with rhythm.
The end of the calendar year brings a holiday break to most people, and it arrived yesterday with much rejoicing for the students in my world. I like the rhythm of the academic calendar, the dependable circuit of fresh beginnings building toward grand crescendos and coveted breaks. Nothing lasts long enough for monotony to set in, but the variety is familiar. It is rhythm, that lovely idea with the oxymoronic definition of recurring fluctuation.
Our particular culture may be rhythm-impaired.
The American notion of work is hard to identify. From one angle it looks all workaholic with a capitalism-infused insatiable desire for more and a technological revolution that never really allows us to go home or on vacation, but from another it looks a little like laziness expecting two full days off a week and only eight hours of work the other days carefully divided by breaks and lunch hours and creative approaches to what counts as being on the clock (not to mention vacations, sick days, and other assorted flavors of leave).
So which is it? Do we work like crazy fifty weeks of the year and then take two weeks to run like crazy on vacation and never really rest? Or, do we never really get around to work?
Can it be both? I answer both because I think we lack rhythm.
The planner in me says that rhythm demands excellent time management skills, and it does, but the rhythmic life demands the creative side of the brain, too. Do not settle for a bland, routinized life. Do not settle for a rudderless, pinball life either.
Seek a life with beautiful recurring fluctuation, and then—and only then—go with the flow.
¹ Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.