Here’s what my weekday looks like –

In the morning I wake up at 7, eat an English muffin with nutella, get dressed and go to school. At school, I have a schedule that rotates daily. I eat the same thing for lunch every day – a sandwich with an apple, chocolate and chips. After school, I have a voice lesson or rehearsal or sports practice. After my extracurricular activities, I go home, do some homework, eat dinner, finish homework, shower, get in bed and watch vine compilations until I get tired enough to go to bed. Wash, rinse and repeat until the weekend.

I love routine. It is safe, easy and rhythmic. I know what to expect every day. Having a set schedule and routine means that I might have some control over my often-hectic life. Don’t get me wrong – I like changing things up a bit from time to time. Refreshing my routine feels good and if things stay the same for too long I become bored and restless. Little things like changing what I have for breakfast or waking up a bit earlier also give me a sense of control over my life.

However, I’ve begun to notice that this illusion of control has begun to take over my life. Besides going through the same daily routine over and over again, I unintentionally listen to the exact same artists for weeks on end because I know their songs, and, therefore, know what to expect. I am afraid to start dating again because the person I’ll become interested in might want to alter my routine and schedule to better fit theirs. I can’t go to bed without going through my nightly routine and I like school days more than breaks because I have the safety of my sacred schedule on these days.

On weekends and breaks, I find myself to be more on edge because that safety net is gone. I have nothing to expect or look forward to, and anything could happen. This often results in me locking myself in my house and watching Youtube or Netflix, and only coming out to run errands or hang out with friends if invited. God knows what I’m going to be like in college when my schedule as I’ve known it for years will be drastically changed. Still, no matter what I do, if I don’t have my routine or at least something scheduled, I feel like something’s out of place in my chest. Maybe it’s because, at that moment, I have no set purpose in life. Maybe it’s because I have been released from the chains of routine that I have taught myself to view as a safety blanket.

I know that everyone feels this crisis to a certain extent. Everyone has their schedules and routines and if they were to be messed with, then their world might fall apart. Grrls, I offer no sure solution to this crisis, but maybe if we all change what we have for breakfast every morning or if we give ourselves more schedule-free days, then we’d become more comfortable with bigger changes like going off to college or switching jobs. Whatever it means to you, find away to break your chains of routine. You don’t have to take all aspects of routine out of your life, but realizing that the illusion of control is temporary and becoming more comfortable with letting go can open a lot of doors for you and relieve you of unnecessary stress and anxiety.