I am a creature of habit, ultimately. I pretend that I’m not, but I have an internal rhythm that’s tied to certain things happening at certain times — or, at least, in a certain order that I’ve come to expect from repetition and good faith. I know, when I wake up, how the next few hours of the day is likely to go, and to no small extent, I rely on that knowledge to get me started. There’s a security in the routine, and it’s something I’ve come to appreciate more and more as I get older.

As I said, I pretend that this isn’t the case on a quasi-regular basis. I am, after all, an intelligent and capable person who should be able to think their way through any wrinkles, in time or otherwise, when it comes to any particular subject facing me at any point of the day. Surely, I tell myself, I’m not married to just one idea of how to do things, some unwritten schedule or to-do list.

I tell myself that often, and then things like today happen, and I’m just reminded of who the real me actually is.

It’s not as if today was especially difficult in any meaningful way; it’s simply that my traditional schedule was thrown off entirely. One of the dogs needed to be taken to the vet for a check-up, but in order to prepare for that, he had to eat and have medicine three hours before the appointment — which translated into 6am. So, while I woke up at my usual time, I got up earlier, and also had to prepare to be out the house by 8:30 or so in order to be at the appointment at the right time.

By the time I got home after dropping him off, I sat down at the computer ready to do some work — half an hour later than usual, but that’s not that big a deal — but after 10 minutes or so of checking email, I got a call from the vet telling me that they were finished already, and could I pick the dog up…? Another hour or so later, I was back with the grateful dog, but it was 11:30 by the time I was able to sit in front of the computer again, meaning the morning was already gone… and so, it seemed, was my ability to focus.

So distracted by the blown schedule, I took lunch earlier than usual, hoping that food would help. If I tell you that it’s only now, hours later, that my head feels anywhere close to normal, that might let you know how successful that plan was.

Like I said: I am a creature of habit. When that’s lost, so is everything else, at least for a short while.

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