The Widdershins

Tis the interregnum…

Posted on: December 27, 2013

Good afternoon Widdershinners.  I hope your holiday was a good one and you are looking forward to replacing a ‘13 with a ‘14 in the date.

In medieval times, the period between the death of a sovereign and the coronation of the replacement was called Man polishing watch facesthe “interregnum” period.  Basically, it was the interval between two reigns where government basically came to a halt.

As with most words, interregnum has been modernized to mean any breach or lapse of continuity in an order of things.  That is what the time between Christmas and New Year’s is for me — a lapse of the continuity of time.  Things don’t seem to be right — everything is just a bit off — it’s as if one of the mallards of Duck Dynasty has had his wings clipped or the Kardashians have had a rare self-reflective moment.  Spoiler alert:  One of those two things actually happened.

The disorientation of this interregnum week is a good learning opportunity though.  It is learning “what if” we allowed ourselves to not be held captive to the routine of our brain.

Routine is a safety mechanism of our brain.  Routine is our brain’s way of granting most favored status to reliving that which hasn’t killed us.  The brain is miraculous in warning us off doing anything carrying a high probability of a slow agonizing death or inadvertently watching a Steven Seagal movie.  Evolution is a wonderful thing.

Falling into a routine is a way to manage or mismanage time and time is a concept many of us have a problem with grasping.  Albert Einstein said, “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen all at once.”  Steven Wright tried to explain it with, “I went to a restaurant that served breakfast ‘any time.’  I ordered French toast during the Renaissance.”

As presumptuous as it is, I would like to add a couple of thoughts about routines and time during this interregnum week.  From the point our brains are hardwired at about 15 or 16 years old, time doesn’t appreciably change us or who we are.  All time does is fold us in on ourselves with wrinkles being the evidence.

Warped clockWe spend lots of time fiddling around the edges of who we are in efforts to comport ourselves to a safe routine, but deep down, what was there at sixteen is still there in terms of experiencing and interpreting our universes.  True happiness doesn’t come from covering up that person — just like a thoroughbred pony, true happiness comes from allowing that person to run free.  Sadly, most of us don’t discover this fact at an early age and quite paradoxically, we learn it does take a long time to become young.

So in what’s left of this interregnum week, I want you to do me a favor.  Let’s experiment.  Let’s break routine.  Change things up.  Tomorrow morning throw yourself a curve ball — do something different.  Get out of your comfort zone — don’t listen to your routine-ridden brain, listen to your sixteen-year old heart.  If that means a slide and a playground swing — do it.  If that means reading a trashy novel — do it.  If that means calling up your best friend from high school — do it.

The other favor I’m asking goes along with the first.  When your brain tells you, “Stick with the routine, you don’t have the time,” replace “time” with the word “life.”  Before proceeding, reread that sentence with the replacement.

We have exactly enough life to live — don’t let routine and the countdown of time get in the way this week or ever.

This is an open thread.


3 Responses to "Tis the interregnum…"

Oh my…choices, choices: A marathon of Breaking Bad is on and there is a bowl game on ESPN.

Interesting post Prolix. I’m afraid we are too much creatures of habit.

Excellent suggestion. I have spent the last few days flopped on the couch recovering from the bustle of Christmas. May do so tomorrow as well.

Love that word, interregnum. The week between Christmas and New Years is a weird, disjointed week. Its like we’re waiting for New Years, the end of the holiday season, for life to start back up. I like the idea of doing something different. I will try to do that tomorrow.

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