Routine or freedom: which one is more liberating?

I have had my fair share of travels in life, visiting Asia mainly, yet I have never, in my entire life, been on a solo trip to a far-away location. Actually the first time I traveled alone as an adult for leisure was last year when I did a fasting and hiking retreat in the South of France in the Spring.

So it is with a certain excitement and anxiety that I look forward to a full week of me-time in Bali – starting today. Traveling alone gives you the possibility to indulge in the craziest of lifestyles for a busy working mum of two: living for today, not knowing what you will do next, where you will go, what you will eat and who you will meet. Some also call this freedom 🙂

Experiencing this feeling of freedom is something quite unique, which many who read me will surely recognise. No strings, no watches, no plans, no commitments, going with the flow, you name it, it’s all the same: the feeling of letting go and giving in to intuition, introspection and imagination.  This feeling of elation in the face of freedom is not, however, something universally cherished. As humans we are programmed to enjoy routine. From a very young age we expect to be fed regularly, our diapers to be changed when necessary, and our good night ritual to be one of the highlights of our day. Our body itself is a machine fueled on routine. Eating, sleeping, peeing, it’s all part of a grand scheme to make every new day desperately look like the previous one. 

As often in life we tend to take a binary view of things, opposing two situations as if both could not be equally enjoyable and beneficial to us. My view is that freedom and routine are the two sides of the same coin. In fact, both freedom and routine can bring a lot of happiness, albeit in very different ways.

Benefits of routine:

  • Routine gives you more time to think about the essential things in life, and lets your imagination and intellect run free.
  • Routine gives you something to look forward you, like the bedtime ritual or the moment your body touches your bed after a long day of work and/or play.
  • Routine enforces discipline and enables progress in mastering new skills or getting to know yourself better.

Benefits of freedom:

  • Freedom is the ultimate adrenaline rush for most of us living organised, routine lives, especially with kids.
  • Freedom invites you to get out of your comfort zone to discover new things.
  • Freedom always keeps you alert, makes you question everything. When you always have the choice, you have to know yourself really well not to lose time on petty decisions.

Towards which of the two is your heart naturally swaying? 

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