A Routine is as Good as a Holiday

The daily grind cops a lot of hate, but I spent three days in Melbourne two weeks ago and my poop schedule is still all over the place.

image 1869 from bradism.com

In my twenties I lived for adventure. I traveled around the country going to music festivals. I asked around on Fridays to find out where the weekend’s house parties were. I went to bars and even clubs, and sporting events and I socialised with strangers and it made me feel good. I liked being able to reflect back over the past year and define myself by the experiences I’d had.

In my thirties I find experiences stressful. Am I having enough fun? Should I be taking photos? If I don’t share at least a snippet of this on my phone to other people, did it even happen? And the opportunity costs! If I go to this cafe, what if I miss out on a highly rated other restaurant that I’ll never have a chance to visit again? What if I don’t see all the sights? What if my favourite song actually doesn’t feel as moving live as it does on the sound-engineered record?

These days I live for routine. Planning ahead, making sure every part of my day will be like an array of aligned dominos just waiting for me to knock them over and surf the dulcet clack-clack-clack all the way to the next day. I always have a delicious fruit smoothie for breakfast. I know when my coffee and gym will fit between work meetings. Incidental exercise always happens at the right times of the day. I never need to iron a shirt at the last minute, or work out what to eat for lunch, or find myself bored.

This routine isn’t clockwork. On the contrary, every week I find ways to rearrange and tweak it, defrosting fruit before bed, adding new recurring meetings to my work calendar, switching fabric softeners. That’s what truly makes me so excited by my routine, not the fact that I enjoy all the mundane parts of my life, but that I am able to schedule them so seamlessly to make more time for more routine.

Melbourne seems a bit weird.

Melbourne seems a bit weird.


Maybe my dependence on routine for my self-fulfilment is the reason I didn’t find my most recent vacation particularly enjoyable. I tried to plan my days there too, where I would buy yogurt and cereal for the AirBnB, when I would get my steps in, how to keep my carry-on luggage below the 7 kilogram limit. It didn’t help both my flights were delayed considerably. No holiday plan survives first contact with a budget airline.

On my final day in one of the world’s most livable cities I found myself unexpectedly needing to buy lunch and falling apart trying to decide what to eat, how many calories I should allow, how much I should spend. I ended up consuming an over-cooked and underwhelming chickpea burger for $20 on the corner of two dead downtown streets, then arrived at the airport over an hour too early for my flight home.

The best thing about a routine is that if you fail to appreciate your breakfast, your walk, your coffee, your conversation, you know that the next chance to savour it is only a day away.


Not getting enough emails? Want to receive updates and publishing news in your inbox? Sign up to the bradism mailing list. You'll also receive an ebook, free!


Uprooted

You’ll definitely have noticed by now the decline in breakfast related entries on my journal over the past twelve months. The root cause of this has been the crack in my tooth which ran all the way to the nerve. Like most of my injuries, this appeared from the ether like the misdirected spell and neither filling nor crown were able to relieve the symptoms of pain whenever I bit down on something small and firmer than peach flesh. This excluded all the good breakfast cereals.

First thing this morning I munched down on berries, yogurt, and a bowl full of crushed up Weet Bix, rolled oats, and muesli complete with flaxseed clusters and pepitas. And I had no pain. Later, I sucked down mouthfuls of Bhuja nut mix with sultanas with no regard to which side of my mouth the nuts and grains should be masticated. This was amazing. For the first time in over a year I was able to chomp without lightning bolts of agony racing down my jaw. A shroud was lifted. I felt like I might not be a completely broken down human being existing on this planet out of habit.

And the secret to this turnaround? It was simply to pay an endodontist thousands of dollars to drill a small hole in me and extract out the pulp of nerves and blood vessels in my tooth that were connected to the pain centre in my brain. That was it! I can’t believe how easy it was. What else can I get root canaled? My hamstring tendon? My lumbar spine? My iliotibial band? My Western Bulldogs fandom 2007-2010? And after all that, my wallet?

Uneasy Lies The Head

For those bradism.com fanatics out there I'm sure there has been much gossip and speculation regarding my lack of breakfast entries this year.
I do still love eating cereal, yogurt and fruit together in a bowl, however, 2018 has conspired to prevent this simple joy from me. And by extension also from you, from getting to experience it second hand via my website.

For those really rusted on followers of my life you may also remember my gun teeth.

And here is the point of the entry: everything you ever journal about is doomed. My teeth, like many of my body pieces, have succumbed to uselessness as the years have gone by. I needed a filling last year, and as the weeks passed it was clear the cavity was more complex than anticipated. And when I returned for maintenance I had my first experience with 3D printing. The weakness in my tooth was mapped from every angle, and then a porcelain fragment (like what they make toilets out of) was cemented next to my tongue. That was cool, I thought.

Alas, not even the greatest of mankind's technological achievements was enough to reunite me with pain free yogurt mush munching. The implant didn't sit right and after fifteen months my dentist decided the best solution to my chewing pain was to crown the tooth. After all these years, it was time for me to face major dental.

So I sat in a chair for over an hour while humans standing extra-close to me did things inside my mouth. This is not the home territory of the introvert.
Earlier in the day I'd spent the morning trying to troubleshoot an unresponsive message queue in our production environment, and for this experience in the chair I tried to pretend that I was the mainframe, and these dentists were the sys-admins, and my mouth was a terminal that would return output only when prompted. This metaphor did distract me from the drilling, and then I fell asleep for a lot of it.

Eventually they were done and almost all of me woke up and paid a lot of money for this second chance at eating toasted oats and Bhuja mix for the rest of my life. (My jaw and right side of my tongue got another couple hours of rest.) Now the pain is returning, which is expected, given what my nerves have been through. Will it work? I hope so, but there's no guarantee in our lives. If you're out there, if you're reading this now with non-hurting teeth, appreciate it. Live life for today. Crush some Weet Bix into a bowl, slice up a ripe banana and add some muesli, cover it with vanilla yogurt. Stir it into a delicious paste. Eat it. Eat it while you still can. Don't become like me, sick with belated regrets. Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.


Like my words? Want to buy one of my books? I think you'll like this one:

If you met yourself from the future, what would you ask your future self?
What if they wont tell you anything?

Chase: A Tomorrow Technologies Novella. Available Now for Less than a dollar!


Uncool

image 1741 from bradism.com

A couple of the things which bring me great joy in life are writing stories in my notebook, and eating a whole bunch of yogurt, cereal and fruit mushed together.
Sometimes - like when Vanessa is doing half marathons in far off places early on Sunday mornings - I do these things together, and those times are some of the most joyous times of all.

image 1742 from bradism.com

Except when it is Feels Like 2°C! I could barely stir my Weet Bix.

How To Make Freaking Awesome Microwave Porridge

Every year, one morning close to the winter solstice, it takes me thirty minutes to drink an icy smoothie and suddenly I remember that I like porridge. It’s funny, if you asked me in mid-February if I even knew how to make oats I’d probably give you a blank look, but like an old, crinkled-up tissue in a jacket pocket, June brings things back to me. And each year I’m forced to recollect my porridge recipe.

This year I’m writing my recipe down to save myself some time in 2019, and maybe share some tips with you, internet. I’ve called this post “Freaking Awesome Microwave Porridge” because there is already heaps of search results for “Best Microwave Porridge” so I’m trying to market on an angle.

I make my oats in the microwave. You can make them on the stove, but then you have to clean a saucepan. This way you can eat them straight out of the bowl.

image 1733 from bradism.com

These are my ingredients. You can use steel cut or plain rolled oats. Garnish berries are option, but banana is essential.

The number one secret of Bradism Porridge - banana first. Mush it up like baby food in the base of the bowl.

image 1734 from bradism.com

Then, add one cup of oats, a tablespoon of cinnamon and mix it all through.

image 1735 from bradism.com

Then, add a cup of water on the top and stir some more. Microwave this for 90 seconds on high, then add half a cup of milk and microwave another 90 seconds.

The porridge magic will start to happen. Depending on the moisture content of the banana, and the effect of entropy on how densely the oats stacked themselves in your measuring cup, you’ll need to stir and heat a few more times to get the consistency you need. For me that’s usually the following: 60 seconds, 60 seconds, 40 seconds, 40 seconds, 30 seconds, 30 seconds.

image 1738 from bradism.com

Use the brief intervals of molecule vibration to tidy your kitchen and assemble your lunch for the day, or prepare fresh berries for garnish.
Frozen berries also work. You can chuck these in on the second-to-last mix through and they will reach the same temperature and consistency of the oats by the time you eat them.

image 1737 from bradism.com

Fresh strawberries should not be microwaved. Lay them on the surface where the steaming oats will instantly gel-ify them. Add honey or maple syrup to taste.

I ate the above bowl at 7:30 AM for breakfast today, survived several hailstorms and did not need to eat again until after 3 PM. Freaking Awesome.

Managing Somehow

I was disappointed this morning when my new norm of back to back meetings meant I didn't have a free half hour to mix cereal, fruit and yogurt together and eat it. Repetition, a sensitive tooth, weather so cold that my yogurt warms up after I take it out of the fridge, have not swayed my affections for this pre-lunch ritual.

This afternoon, after I spotted my yogurt tub in the kitchenette fridge, I went to my calendar to see if there would be time Thursday to fit in second breakfast. To my despair every thirty minute block had been allocated to some need or another. Then I noticed one appointment, at 10:30, simply titled “busy”. It had no location or other attendees, and I remembered that last week when I saw my calendar filling up for the morning that I booked out half an hour just in case I wanted to eat cereal and yogurt.

Adulting

When you’re hungry for the whole three hour meeting, not much tastes as good afterwards as fruit and crushed Weet Bix mixed through yogurt. This is what adulthood is like, having to wait until nearly lunchtime before eating some cereal. And spending the last thirty minutes of meetings thinking about how to rinse blueberries.

Time is a more precious resource when you’re an adult. Not only are there more responsibilities and demands for attention, you’ve also got your own mortality constantly hanging over your head. You have to multitask, like drink your after work beer while emptying the dishwasher.

I’ve been trying to use tai chi to meditate and detach, which is good when I can fit it in. The routine takes ten minutes, but if I don’t breathe much I can run through all the poses in less than sixty seconds.

This is where adulthood has left me. Damn children, their lack of responsibilities, and their relaxed, drawn out tai chi sessions. But what else am I going to do? Not get old? Not really an option. Now time for me to drink some chocolate milk and go to bed.

Older Breakfast Entries | No Newer Entries