OPINION: Consistency is comfort, but change is inevitable



By Madeline Papcun

I have always had a very Type A personality. I love making a plan and sticking to it. As a kid, if my weekly routine was going to be disrupted, my mom made sure to tell me as soon as possible. Then, she would remind me repeatedly, so that I didn’t forget. This allowed me to avoid any day-of surprise changes that would cause me overwhelming panic. Even then, I always wanted to be prepared, something which has carried into my adult life. 

I am still relentlessly organized in most aspects of my life. My weekly schedule is color-coded, and linked between my phone and computer so I can update it anywhere, anytime. During the school year, my friends look in awe at my assignment planner, which I maintain religiously. Just last week, I went to a concert in New York City with a few friends who remarked they were glad to be going with me, knowing I would plan our travel out ahead of time. And they weren’t wrong — the day before we left, I sent them each an itinerary. 

I really do love my routine and planning. Consistency is comfort. But it’s silly to think that making a plan means all will go according to plan. Organization and routine are powerful tools of productivity and familiarity until they become overwhelmingly mundane, or too rigid to adjust when life changes.

It’s OK for life to be a little unplanned. And this is something I have to remind myself often. After all, I read Robert Burns’ “To A Mouse” in high school during our unit on John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men.” The best laid plans of mice and men often do go awry. This is neither the mouse’s nor the man’s fault, but merely a fact of life. Hence, flexibility is often better than a strict routine. 

Even a seemingly perfect schedule is unlikely to go off without a hitch. There isn’t a formula to answer every problem. Sometimes, you have to go off script. However, the key to doing so is to be okay with change. If anything, embrace it. Particularly now, as a 20-something still working her way through college, I know this is a period of my life where I’m going to experience mass amounts of change. It’s better to accept this now and embrace flexibility, rather than resisting each new development, kicking and screaming.

In general, I’m reminding myself that it’s OK to break routine. Even if it’s a little scary at first. A plan is loved because stability works, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing that works. Thus, this is a case where exposure therapy works wonders. For me, this looks like changing my class schedule over the summer and therefore reimagining what my fall semester is going to be. For you, embracing change might look like switching up your weekly routine, or saying yes to that spontaneous girls’ trip your friends put together. So get out there! Even the perfect schedule maintains some sense of variety.

Madeline Papcun is a student at the University of Connecticut. She can be reached at mpapcun@record-journal.com.



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