As humans, we all crave a certain pattern and pace for our lives. Going to college, starting a career, switching careers, falling into a friendship, and many other milestones lead to a certain amount of routine. Routine can be such a wonderful thing—it creates a safe space and gives room for whatever important relationship or event it holds, but breaking routine is often a time that leads to growth and eye-opening experiences.
Going into this semester, one of my main “goals” was to break routine. As much as I love my home university, there’s a distinct rhythm to the way I live there—from classes to activities to habits. Arriving in Ireland, I wanted to focus less on planning and more on exploring for the next four months.
So far, breaking routine has meant much more than just taking different classes or joining different clubs. This has meant leaving time in my schedule to explore, taking advantage of travel opportunities through UL and on my own, biking & walking & running along every busy road and dirt path, and (trying) to stop and soak it in on occasion. Breaking routine has meant big things like befriending a stray dog on a walk, biking 6 miles with a rusty rental bike, trudging through muddy paths to get the best view of Limerick, running along the river on sunny days, finding the local fish & chips shops, stumbling upon the main square in foreign cities, and hiking to find some of the most incredible views.
These aren’t all big things, but each of these experiences has had an impact on my experience so far. By breaking my routine, I have found new places, met new people, and discovered a freedom in each day that I had trouble grasping before. As the semester progresses, I’m sure routine will begin to present itself, but I will continue to challenge myself to do something new and find freedom in these experiences.