Sunday, 31 May 2009

Safety Zone Or Prison?

I've talked a lot over the past few days about finding what works and sticking with it. I'm starting to wonder how good an idea this actually is- if something is going well, why take the risk of shaking things up an branching into new territory? I think I am running the risk of falling into an unnecessarily strict routine out of fear of what *might* happen if I try something new. There is a balance between accepting things as they are, and knowing when to push that little bit further and see if the 'limits' can be stretched further. Stepping out of a safety zone feels scary and almost unnecessary, but on the other hand, a 'safety zone' can end up feeling more suffocating than comforting.

I like routines. I like to know what's happening in advance, I like to plan ahead and I like to be prepared. I like scientific and mathematical solutions to problems - 'x = 2y' makes sense to me. Life isn't like that. Life demands a level of flexibility- an ability to adapt, to change, to grow. There is nothing WRONG with routines in themselves, except when they get to a point where they become ingrained to the point where going with the 'flow' of life becomes too challenging. Isn't that what life is about? Trying new things, experimenting, discovering, learning?

This is all prompted by me opening my fridge this morning and realising it's virtually empty, having already bought all the food I need for this week. No, I'm not planning on not eating (!), but I am trying to use up more of the stash of food in my freezer right now (which means a lot of boring/repetitive meals for the next couple of weeks). Common sense? Perhaps. I could also very easily fall into the habit of eating the same things over and over again until I find myself scared to break out of what has become a completely rigid routine.

What are your thoughts on 'doing what works' versus taking leaps of faith and trying new things? Do you consider yourself to be someone who likes routine/predictability or do you prefer 'winging-it' and seeing where life takes you?

"At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don't keep other people out. They fence you in. Life is messy. That's how we're made. So, you can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them."
- Grey's Anatomy


I did want to try a new twist on my breakfast this morning: blueberry and cream oats!

I cooked up plain oats (in water), then swirled them in with blueberries and fromage frais. This was REALLY good- exact same ingredients as yesterday's breakfast, but a whole bunch of different textures/flavours. I don't recommend this if you like your oatmeal really hot though! Frozen blueberries and cold yogurt drop the temperature :P

Today is the last day for submissions to Katie's new food challenge ...

Okay, I don't know much about sprouts. A sprout is a sprout to me- I've only ever eaten alfalfa sprouts before and assumed they were all pretty much identical. WRONG! The radish sprouts were purple (which automatically makes them cool in my opinion) but they had a completely different taste- much more of a 'kick' than alfalfa which...hehe, taste like grass (and yes, I have eaten grass!)

The spiciness of the sprouts got pretty lost once mixed up with my fiesta salad (tuna, rice, kidney beans, salsa) but still looked pretty!

PURPLE! I want to try some other sprouts now- any recommendations?

HUGE congratulations to everyone who ran yesterday. I caught part of the Edinburgh Marathon today and now that I've read so much more about what actually goes on in training/preparation for such a feat, I have nothing but respect for all of you runners out there. This afternoon is going to be spent catching up with blogs to read recaps!

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend- can you believe tomorrow is the first of JUNE?! Where is this year going?


K from ksgoodeats said...

I used to be a BIG planner! Especially when I was still in classes. If I didn't plan everything I would have stressed out way too much. I'm learning to go with the flow now that I'm on break but I still make lists of plans.

I've never had radish sprouts! Sounds good!!

Olga said...

I think it depends a lot on what I'm doing...With academics, like classes or studying strategies, I tend to stick to the same stuff, but I'd like to consider myself somewhat adventurous :)

Anonymous said...

I think it's so much easier to plan things and fall into a routine...but it gets to be so boring. I always get stuck in this rut. I'd rather take a risk, even if it does not end up well - it'll be a learning experience.

Besides, life never goes according to plan - so we better prepare ourselves for it.

Anonymous said...

hi hun
this is a topic i can really relate to as im really trying to break out of a routine ive had for so long at the moment in terms of eating the same things and eating at certain times..its hard but ive realised the only way to make progress is through action..making myself step outside my comfort zone and showing myself its ok to do so. we can both do it :) we just need to challenge ourselves!
have a nice afternoon hun

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment on Friday, my water is back on today.
I like routine on work days, it helps me get things done so I'm not rushing around like a headless chicken. On my days off I try to just go with the flow, although I have to plan when to do grocery shopping etc as my days off a different every week.

Samantha said...

Hello it's Samantha :)
I love order, routine and organisation but tend to be quite spontaneous, oddly enough!
I wish the UK had protein bars - I really struggle to get enough protein as I'm a fussy vegetarian! xx

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I'll take sprouts over nori any day, although just cuz I hate it doesn't mean you would... :)

Anonymous said...

awesome post, ellie! i LOVE routines and i also know that flexibility is healthy, but it is hard to let go of that control! i think i've gotten much better at adapting to new situations and "going with the flow" over the past year. it's much easier to do when you HAVE to do it due to a big change in your environment or something else. if i'm not forced, it's much harder for me to break out of a routine!
(p.s. thanks for the congrats!!)

Pammy said...

I am definitely a planner. I plan everything ahead. One goal I am trying to work on this summer is adding some flexibility into my schedule. I have spent the last few years missing out on too many impromptu beach trips and cookouts because it didnt fit into my "plan" for that day.

Love your eats! They look delish

Anonymous said...

It is either way for me. I'm a BIG planner. I already planned my whole future out. but things don't always go the way I planned, and that just gives me a lot of stress...because I'm convinced that things are right ONLY if it goes the way I planned it to be...which restricts and limits me from a lot of new and exciting adventures.
cooking actually really helped me be more spontaneous. I don't plan ahead what I wanna cook, I just go with the flow. And it's helped me to have that perspective in life as well. I def have goals and visions, but I choose to be less stubborn about it. if things don't work out the way I want, then fine, I'll make another goal, and make the best of it.
it's nice to have plans, but remember, YOU'RE the one who makes the plans...don't let it be the other way around, if you get what I mean...

Cacti Don't Cry said...

Hmm... interesting post! I like to know what's going to happen, but then again, sometimes I might get bored of that. Which doesn't mean that it isn't scary as hell to "step outside the box." It's strange that you're posting this now, because I've been wondering about that a lot myself the past few days!

A sprout is not just a sprout ;) I was trying valiantly to buy alfalfa sprouts the other day and NO STORES had them, so I wound up with broccoli sprouts instead... which are more bitter than alfalfa sprouts. Hmph.

<3 <3

brookesballbuster said...

I am totally a routine girl! To the point of where I get super anxious when life changes. I have been so much more flexible and ready to take on change with the help of my husband. He doesn't make fun of me when I get OCD about weird little things, he justs helps me to see what is irrational and how it's hurting me. Having adventurous friends is so important for you! The more I get to know you the more I can relate though!!

Anonymous said...

as always thank you so much for the comments! I love coming back to my posts to read your wonderful words. :)

So this post really hit me because I def deal with breaking out of routine and embracing just going with the flow. Things sometimes happen and its about being flexible, something that I have recently been having a lot of issues with. I am proud to say that tonight I managed to push out of my routine and sit with the anxiety of not doing what I had planned on. It just needed to happen esp because I was with my best friend and I was being difficult. Sometimes we have to suck it up and realize that staying within parameters is just too limiting. We may hate stepping out of our comfort zone but I guess we have to.

Anonymous said...

I really struggle with getting the balance right between staying safe and taking risks. I think maybe it's something you can't really overthink or plan because it depends on what you know is right for you at any one time. I am definitely a scientific person too, emotions and relationships confuse the whatsit out of me. It all makes more sense when I stop trying to make it make sense though :p
I like your sprout uses, I'm growing my own at the moment so I'm filing ideas away in my mind!
I hope you have a nice start to the week :)