March 11, 2024

When We Realize it’s time to Change our Routines.


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Mornings used to be slower.

In the days before Roo.

Even with Tino’s daily 4 a.m. meows for breakfast before sunrise (food is already in her bowl, she wants fresh breakfast), when I later awoke to my morning, it would unfold slowly.

Roo has shaken out that easy-paced morning routine over the past seven months, replacing my morning journalling with morning walks or stick throws. My peaceful coffee on the porch has been replaced with coffee standing in the woods, waiting while she poops.

As I write, I look down at Roo, who is happily chewing some old toy she’s suddenly found renewed joy in. She lies across the top of my feet stretching out her long puppy body, rolling through her teeth the pink rubbery dog toy she’s rediscovered. Many of her other favorite toys are now half-buried amongst dead leaves decaying in a pile under my house.

Her new routine has been to create a little den for herself. The dark cool space underneath calls to her and she gleefully carries all her favorite things to bury below the floors for safekeeping. Including my shoes. And one time my wallet. And another time my birth certificate. All her favorite things.

This is what part of my morning routine now looks like if I’m truthful. I’ve attempted to revise my morning to-dos in a neat and tidy row, the essential boxes ready to tick in my own time.


Chasing Roo and my personal items in the windy morning sunshine was not meant to be part of the plan for the early hours of the day, but somehow it happens almost daily.

But you know, a part of me has allowed the chaotic change. The problem is that lately, the daily structure that once ensured stability and calm hasn’t delivered. There is resistance to doing the things that once fired up my day. I’m less inspired.

My gratitude journal and my morning pages feel weighty, the obligation to workout first thing in the morning…they feel heavier for some reason. Like I’m trudging uphill, carrying all the things that I once needed in a sack over stones and fallen branches. The summit is too high above. I’m tired.

These morning routine activities used to propel me up the hill—where achievement perched glittering in sunlight at the top. Where satisfaction, pride, and ticked boxes all waited, shiny and brag-worthy, a spectacular view below of all I had accomplished, and a crystalline vision of all the rewards to come stretching out into the vast future beyond. 

My morning routine and structure gave me parameters, direction, and upward, forward movement. The to-dos got done, stories were written, projects advanced…it felt good.

It’s taken a few months to realize, but I feel it now. It’s time to change my routine.

Earlier this morning, Roo bolted out the front door without her leash and galumphed to her den under the house with something important of mine. I sought out the broom from the kitchen so I could use the long stick end and crawl under the house to retrieve whatever treasure she’d pilfered.

Small gravel stones embedded themselves in my knees as I crawled, and spider webs and dust clumps were disturbed by my ponytail as I punctured the pile of dead leaves with my broom and attempted to reclaim what’s mine—this time my shoes. Roo leaped back and forth biting at the broomstick, loving this new game.

Despite the disruptions, the destruction, and the thievery her puppy personality plagues me with on some days, I can’t imagine life without her. I wish I had met her in different circumstances, but maybe—that’s the only way she would ever have become part of my life. Throw herself in my path and then just like that, everything changes. For her and me.

The universe does this to me (and feel free to interchange universe with God, or Source, or whichever higher power serves you; to each their own). Maybe it does to many of us. That sudden, spell-breaking clap of thunder that halts our momentum and changes our plans without warning.

The unexpected news that introduces a different narrative in our lives. Something that takes a sharp left, and with the chaotic turn takes away the kind of life we had and thought we wanted.

Or maybe the universe drops something in our lap we didn’t see coming. The unexpected layoff or an unexpected inheritance. The pet we didn’t know we needed. The child we didn’t know we wanted. The breakup we couldn’t break off ourselves. The business that crumbled so hard from every edge, our hands couldn’t move nimbly enough to catch all the broken pieces as they fell.

Rarely, do we have control over circumstances. In the end, when the universe twists the plot, all we can do is learn how to twist with it.

I remember hearing that clap of thunder that prophesized a major life change when my first business began to rip apart. The seams I kept sewing back together wouldn’t hold. No matter how much I fought against the inevitable collapse of my first company, I denied the signs and threw all my energy into keeping it together. This did not save my business, nor make me a hero.

My stubborn insistent behavior to keep pedaling down my carefully mapped-out road only exhausted me, created dissension, and caused more pain than I would have felt if I had only accepted what was happening, let it go, and trusted my ability to make new plans.

Back then, I don’t think I believed in myself enough to trust when life demanded a change in the script that I was capable of making new plans that could still fly, that I could create all over again. I was afraid I would never get the magic back.

And I did lose it. No diligent routine, smarts, or hustle would serve me like they once did. I mourned the loss of that company; even with the tears, stress, and anxiety that so often accompanies success, there was magic in what my team and I created in ways that were life-changing. I didn’t realize then that I was the creator of that. So was everyone else on the scene.

But since the dissolution of that company years ago, each team player has gone in different directions and created again.

So have I. I created Venture Within, and that took on a life of its own. At first, I had big plans for VW, replicating all I had learned, but we are not here to replicate.

We are here to create.

Which brings me back to routines. The same-same-sameness of our days serves a purpose for a while. There is value in consistency, stability, and growth—until there isn’t.

Is this looming bramble-pocked hill something we still want to trudge up? Don’t we want a hill we are excited to charge up? Well-equipped? We have to recalibrate when we’re no longer inspired to climb.

For years, my current routine focused and propelled me. And now, with or without Roo, I can’t even bother with those once soul-steadying tasks, so it’s time to recreate magic in a different way.

And this feels good.

So what’s different? Writing. I’m spending the first two hours of my day writing—maybe the words write themselves into a blog, maybe the words draft a chapter in my Tino & Roo book, or maybe the words collect as random thoughts messy and directionless. But sitting down to begin writing at the end of the day isn’t working for me anymore. So I’ve decided to write first.

Choosing writing the way I love to write as the first major item of my day puts a little charge in my step. A little extra bean in my coffee. Even if Roo hops and bounces out of the house with my best flip-flip just as I sit down and open my Mac. She just wants to play.

As she should. I’m not even mad at the interruption. Some days, she’s calmer and only wants to lie on the porch in the sunshine, soaking up the rays like the little sun worshipper she is. But this week, since I’ve redistributed my working and writing hours, she’s all about running amok and pouncing on bugs in the dirt with just enough puppy spontaneity to keep me wary and watching while I’m trying to write.

What I notice though is that despite the puppy-fueled interruptions, this blog has been written anyway. As routines have changed, and as I accept Roo will do something criminal with my things (every day), prioritizing my writing in the morning has worked out. Distractions and all, switching out the boosters and choosing writing as the (almost) first thing I do in my day feels good.

It feels refreshing to table the thing I’m good at as the first thing I do. And that brings me the calm, inspiration, and stability I was missing.

Hopefully, this change will propel me forward in the direction I’m meant to be going now. As unpleasant as they’ve felt, I have the last few months of stagnation and dead ends to thank for this urge to change up my routine.

And I have Roo to thank for that too.


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